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Managing the nutrition of twin-bearing ewes during pregnancy using Lifetimewool recommendations increases production of twin lambs

Edwards, J.E.H., Copping, K.J. and Thompson, A.N. (2011) Managing the nutrition of twin-bearing ewes during pregnancy using Lifetimewool recommendations increases production of twin lambs. Animal Production Science, 51 (9). pp. 813-820.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AN09158
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Abstract

The effect on ewe and lamb production by differential management of single- and twin-bearing Merino ewes during pregnancy and lactation was examined. The hypothesis that the survival and productivity of single- and twin-born progeny is not affected by differential management of single- and twin-bearing ewes was tested. To test this hypothesis, two ewe flocks were monitored on a commercial property in the south-east of South Australia. The body condition score of one flock of ewes was managed according to Lifetimewool recommendations for southern Australian (Lifetimewool flock; n ≤ 464). Lifetimewool recommendations are that body condition score should be 3.0 at mating and then allowed to decline to an average of 2.7, which is maintained until lambing. Twin- and single-bearing ewes were managed as separate mobs after pregnancy scanning to meet their energy requirements. The second flock was managed similarly to the commercial ewe flock and was representative of ewe management practices in the region (normal-practice flock; n ≤ 464). At lambing, the condition score of the Lifetimewool flock was 0.7 condition scores units greater than the normal-practice flock. Ewe clean fleece weight and fibre diameter were greater in the Lifetimewool flock and their lambs had higher survival rates to weaning. Over three shearings, progeny from Lifetimewool ewe flocks produced more clean wool (P 0.0001) but there was no consistent effect on fibre diameter, staple length or staple strength. Twin-born lambs from ewes managed to Lifetimewool guidelines had a similar liveweight and produced similar quantity and quality of wool to single-born lambs managed to Lifetimewool guidelines, but still suffered higher rates of mortality to weaning. This suggests that it is possible to manage ewes pregnant with twins to ensure that their surviving progeny perform at a level similar to single-born progeny managed under similar targets.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: © CSIRO 2011
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/5459
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