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Invited review: impact of specific nutrient interventions during mid-to-late gestation on physiological traits important for survival of multiple-born lambs

  • S. A. McCoard (a1), F. A. Sales (a2) and Q. L. Sciascia (a3)


To improve production efficiency, the sheep meat industry has increased flock prolificacy. However, multiple-born lambs have lower birth weights, increased mortality and reduced growth rate compared with single-born lambs. Lamb mortality is a major issue for livestock farming globally and solutions are required to increase survival to realise the value of increased flock fecundity. Nutrition during gestation can influence maternal–foetal placental nutrient transfer and thus foetal growth and organ/tissue development, as well as improve postnatal productivity. This review covers the challenges and opportunities associated with increased prolificacy, highlights gaps in our knowledge and identifies some opportunities for how targeted intervention with specific nutrients during mid-to-late pregnancy may influence lamb survival and productivity with a specific focus on pasture-based systems. This time frame was selected as intervention strategies in short-time windows post-pregnancy scanning and before lambing to improve lamb survival in high-risk groups (e.g. triplets) are likely to be the most practical and economically feasible options for pasture-based extensive farming systems.

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Invited review: impact of specific nutrient interventions during mid-to-late gestation on physiological traits important for survival of multiple-born lambs

  • S. A. McCoard (a1), F. A. Sales (a2) and Q. L. Sciascia (a3)


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