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Effects of shelter, exposure and level of feeding over winter on the productivity of Welsh Mountain ewes and lambs

  • W. I. Robinson (a1), W. Brown (a1) and I. A. M. Lucas (a1)

Summary

Pregnant Welsh Mountain ewes were kept over winter on a hill. All were penned individually, either in a shed or out of doors. In Experiments 1 and 2 different levels of digestible organic matter (DOM) were given in each environment and in Experiment 3 only a single level was offered. In Experiment 2 all ewes were grazed together after lambing; in Experiment 3 some from each treatment were moved to a shed after lambing and their milk yields recorded between 10 and 15 days later.

In a fourth experiment on low land, pregnant ewes were either housed or kept in an exposed or a sheltered paddock. All were grazed together after lambing.

The results indicated that the requirement of indoors penned sheep to maintain body weight and produce a single lamb is 9·5 g DOM/kg live weight per 24 hr at 16 weeks pre-partum, rising to 15·0 g DOM/kg live weight per 24 hr at 1 week pre-partum. A 10% weight loss during pregnancy would be expected in ewes receiving 75 to 80 % of these requirements. Low intakes during pregnancy reduced wool growth and lamb birth weights.

Outdoor exposure reduced pre-partum ewe weight by about 1·5 kg, and so was equivalent to a 10% reduction in daily DOM intake. The magnitude of this effect was not changed significantly by level of feeding. Exposure did not affect wool growth and its influence on lamb birth weight and growth was variable.

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References

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Effects of shelter, exposure and level of feeding over winter on the productivity of Welsh Mountain ewes and lambs

  • W. I. Robinson (a1), W. Brown (a1) and I. A. M. Lucas (a1)

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