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Effect of level of food intake in mid and late pregnancy on the performance of breeding ewes

  • S. C. Wilkinson (a1) and D. M. B. Chestnutt (a1)

Abstract

In three experiments pregnant ewes (mean weight 72·5 kg) were subjected to different planes of nutrition on grass silage-based diets during mid pregnancy and, in factorial designed trials with ad libitum silage or ad libitum silage + concentrates in late pregnancy. The high plane of mid-pregnancy nutrition resulted in an average gain of 11·5 kg between weeks 7 and 14 of pregnancy while the low plane gave an average loss of 3·5 kg during this period. These differences did not affect lamb birth weight but ewes on the high plane were 7·2 kg heavier after lambing than those on the low plane. The effect of plane of nutrition during mid pregnancy on silage intake during late pregnancy was variable but there was some evidence of a greater reduction in intake during the last few weeks of pregnancy following the high plane of mid-pregnancy nutrition. The higher plane of nutrition in late pregnancy resulted in higher ewe live weights as well as higher lamb birth weights and highest lamb birth weights occurred following restriction in mid pregnancy and a high plane of nutrition in late pregnancy.

Plasma 3-hydroxybutyrate levels were variable but there was little evidence of an effect of mid-pregnancy nutrition although levels appeared to be increased by the low plane of nutrition in late pregnancy.

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References

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Effect of level of food intake in mid and late pregnancy on the performance of breeding ewes

  • S. C. Wilkinson (a1) and D. M. B. Chestnutt (a1)

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