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The effect of Breed on Feed Intake and Feed Efficiency in Merino and Maternal Type Ewes

Malik, Robin (2017) The effect of Breed on Feed Intake and Feed Efficiency in Merino and Maternal Type Ewes. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Although Merino ewes dominate the Australian sheep flock, approximately 45% of lambs are born to non-Merino ewes. The Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) program has brought with it great advances to the sheep enterprise but as those guidelines have been tailored to Merino ewes, there is very little evidence to propose that nonMerinos ewes can be managed under the same guidelines. Our experiment hypothesised that maternal type ewes will have a lower maintenance energy requirement than Merino ewes, and that maternal type ewes will consume more feed than Merino ewes when fed under ad libitum conditions. Fed a pelleted diet, the feed intake and liveweight change of 40 ewes (20 Merino and 20 Greeline) was monitored over 42 days while they were housed in individual pens at the Murdoch University animal house. Of those 20 ewes in each group, 10 were fed a maintenance diet as per LTEM guidelines and 10 were fed ad libitum. Results found there to be no significant effect of breed on feed intake and maternal type ewes did not have a higher feed intake when fed an ad libitum diet either, hence not supporting either of the two hypotheses. Feed intake was rather found to be more related to liveweight. In conclusion, further research will need to be conducted in order to gain closer understanding of maternal type ewes and identify which traits in particular account for their performance differences.

Publication Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Supervisor: Blumer, Sarah and Thompson, Andrew
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/40075
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