Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Milk production and composition, and progeny performance in young ewes with high merit for rapid growth and muscle and fat accumulation

  • C. A. Rosales Nieto (a1) (a2) (a3), M. B. Ferguson (a1) (a2) (a4), C. A. Macleay (a2), J. R. Briegel (a2), D. A. Wood (a2), G. B. Martin (a3) (a5), R. Bencini (a5) and A. N. Thompson (a1) (a2) (a4)...

Abstract

In ewe lambs, acceleration of growth and accumulation of both muscle and fat leads to earlier sexual maturity and better reproductive performance. The next stage in the development of this theme is to test whether these aspects of growth in young ewes affect milk production in their first lactation and the growth of their first progeny. We studied 75 young Merino ewes that had known phenotypic values for depth of eye muscle (EMD) and fat (FAT), and known Australian Sheep Breeding Values for post-weaning weight (PWT) and depths of eye muscle (PEMD) and fat (PFAT). They lambed for the first time at 1 year of age. Their lambs were weighed weekly from birth to weaning at 10 weeks to determine live weight gain and weaning weight. Progeny birth weight was positively associated with live weight gain and weaning weight (P<0.001). The PWT of the mothers was positively associated with birth weight (P<0.01), live weight gain and weaning weight of the progeny (P<0.05); however, these progeny traits were not influenced by EMD, FAT, PEMD, PFAT of the mothers (P>0.05). The PWT of the sire was positively associated with live weight gain (P<0.05) and weaning weight of the progeny (P<0.01). At around day 20 postpartum, we measured milk production and milk composition (fat, protein, lactose, total solids). Milk production was influenced positively by birth type (single or twin; P<0.05) and negatively by birth weight (P<0.05), but not by mother phenotype or genotype, sire genotype of the mother or the sex of the progeny (P>0.05). The concentrations of fat, protein, lactose and total solids in the milk were not affected by the phenotype or genotype of the mothers or of the sires of the mothers, or by the sex of the progeny (P>0.05). We conclude that selection of young Merino ewes for better growth, and more rapid accumulation of muscle and fat, will lead to progeny that are heavier at birth, grow faster and are heavier at weaning. Moreover, milk production and composition do not seem to be affected by the genetic merit of the mother for post-weaning live weight or PEMD or PFAT. Therefore, Merino ewes can lamb at 1 year of age without affecting the production objectives of the Merino sheep industry.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Footnotes

Hide All
a

Present address: Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias, Campo Experimental San Luis, 78431, México.

b

Present address: The New Zealand Merino Company Ltd, PO Box 25160, Christchurch, 8024, New Zealand.

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Afolayan, RA, Fogarty, NM, Morgan, JE, Gaunt, GM, Cummins, LJ and Gilmour, AR 2009a. Preliminary genetic correlations of milk production and milk composition with reproduction, growth, wool traits and worm resistance in crossbred ewes. Small Ruminant Research 82, 2733.
Afolayan, RA, Fogarty, NM, Morgan, JE, Gaunt, GM, Cummins, LJ, Gilmour, AR and Nielsen, S 2009b. Genetic analysis of milk production and composition in crossbred ewes from different maternal genotypes. Animal Production Science 49, 2431.
Bencini, R 1995. Use of intramuscular oxytocin injections to measure milk output in nondairy sheep, and its effect on milk composition. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 35, 563565.
Bencini, R and Purvis, IW 1990. The yield composition of milk from Merino sheep. Proceedings of the Australian Society of Animal Production 18, 144147.
Bencini, R and Pulina, G 1997. The quality of sheep milk: a review. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 37, 485504.
Bencini, R, Hartmann, P and Lightfoot, RJ 1992. Comparative dairy potential of Awassi×Merino and Merino ewes. Australian Association of Animal Breeding and Genetics 10, 114117.
Brown, DJ, Huisman, AE, Swan, AA, Graser, H-U, Woolaston, RR, Ball, AJ, Atkins, KD and Banks, RG 2007. Genetic evaluation for the Australian sheep industry. Proceedings of the Association of the Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics 17, 187194.
Casoli, C, Duranti, E, Morbidini, L, Panella, F and Vizioli, V 1989. Quantitative and compositional variations of Massese sheep milk by parity and stage of lactation. Small Ruminant Research 2, 4762.
Coop, IE, Clark, VR and Claro, D 1972. Nutrition of the ewe in early lactation. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 15, 203208.
Corner, RA, Mulvaney, FJ, Morris, ST, West, DM, Morel, PCH and Kenyon, PR 2013. A comparison of the reproductive performance of ewe lambs and mature ewes. Small Ruminant Research 114, 126133.
Corner-Thomas, RA, Hickson, RE, Morris, ST and Kenyon, PR 2014. The influences of live weight and body condition score of ewe lambs from breeding to lambing on the live weight of their singleton lambs to weaning. Small Ruminant Research 119, 1621.
Doney, JM, Smith, ADM, Sim, DA and Zygoyannis, D 1984. Milk and herbage intake of suckled and artificially reared lambs at pasture as influenced by lactation pattern. Animal Science 38, 191199.
Edwards, SJ and Juengel, JL 2017. Limits on hogget lambing: the fertility of the young ewe. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 60, 122.
Gardner, RW and Hogue, DE 1964. Effects of energy intake and number of lambs suckled on milk yield, milk composition and energetic efficiency of lactating ewes. Journal of Animal Science 23, 935942.
Gardner, RW and Hogue, DE 1966. Milk production, milk composition and energetic efficiency of Hampshire and Corriedale ewes fed to maintain body weight. Journal of Animal Science 25, 789795.
Hafez, ESE 1952. Studies on the breeding season and reproduction of the ewe Part I. The breeding season in different environments Part II. The breeding season in one locality. The Journal of Agricultural Science 42, 189231.
Kenyon, PR, van der Linden, DS, Blair, HT, Morris, ST, Jenkinson, CMC, Peterson, SW, Mackenzie, DDS and Firth, EC 2011. Effects of dam size and nutritional plane during pregnancy on lamb performance to weaning. Small Ruminant Research 97, 2127.
Kenyon, PR, Thompson, AN and Morris, ST 2014. Breeding ewe lambs successfully to improve lifetime performance. Small Ruminant Research 118, 215.
Lane, MA, Baldwin, RL and Jesse, BW 2000. Sheep rumen metabolic development in response to age dietary treatments. Journal of Animal Science 78, 19901996.
McCance, I 1959. The determination of milk yield in the Merino ewe. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 10, 839853.
McCann, MA, Goode, L, Harvey, RW, Caruolo, EV and Mann, DL 1989. Effects of rapid weight gain to puberty on reproduction, mammary development and lactation in ewe lambs. Theriogenology 32, 5568.
National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) 2004. Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, 7th edition. Australian Government, Canberra, ACT, Australia.
Oldham, CM, Thompson, AN, Ferguson, MB, Gordon, DJ, Kearney, GA and Paganoni, BL 2011. The birthweight and survival of Merino lambs can be predicted from the profile of liveweight change of their mothers during pregnancy. Animal Production Science 51, 776783.
Oravcová, M, Margetín, M, Peškovičová, D, Daňo, J, Milerski, M, Hetényi, L and Polák, P 2007. Factors affecting ewe’s milk fat and protein content and relationships between milk yield and milk components. Crezch Journal of Animal Science 52, 189198.
Paganoni, BL, Ferguson, MB, Kearney, GA and Thompson, AN 2014. Increasing weight gain during pregnancy results in similar increases in lamb birthweights and weaning weights in Merino and non-Merino ewes regardless of sire type. Animal Production Science 54, 727735.
Paten, AM, Pain, SJ, Peterson, SW, Lopez-Villalobos, N, Kenyon, PR and Blair, HT 2017. Effect of dam weight and pregnancy nutrition on average lactation performance of ewe offspring over 5 years. Animal 11, 10271035.
Pulina, G, Bencini, R and Rassu, SPG 1996. Relation between birth weight of lambs and milk production in ewes. Agricoltura Mediterranea 126, 316319.
Rosales Nieto, CA, Ferguson, MB, Macleay, CA, Briegel, JR, Martin, GB and Thompson, AN 2013a. Selection for superior growth advances the onset of puberty and increases reproductive performance in ewe lambs. Animal 7, 990997.
Rosales Nieto, CA, Ferguson, MB, Macleay, CA, Briegel, JR, Wood, DA, Martin, GB and Thompson, AN 2013b. Ewe lambs with higher breeding values for growth achieve higher reproductive performance when mated at age 8 months. Theriogenology 80, 427435.
Rosales Nieto, CA, Ferguson, MB, Thompson, H, Briegel, JR, Macleay, CA, Martin, GB and Thompson, AN 2015. Relationships among puberty, muscle and fat, and liveweight gain during mating in young female sheep. Reproduction in Domestic Animals 50, 637642.
Rosales Nieto, CA, Meza-Herrera, CA, Moron Cedillo, FdJ, Flores Najera, MdJ, Gámez Vázquez, HG, Ventura Pérez, FdJ and Liu, S 2016. Vitamin E supplementation of undernourished ewes pre- and post-lambing reduces weight loss of ewes and increases weight of lambs. Tropical Animal Health and Production 48, 613618.
SAS Institute 2010. SAS/Stat user’s guide, version 9.3. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA.
Snowder, GD and Glimp, HA 1991. Influence of breed, number of suckling lambs, and stage of lactation on ewe milk production and lamb growth under range conditions. Journal of Animal Science 69, 923930.
Thompson, AN, Ferguson, MB, Campbell, AJD, Gordon, DJ, Kearney, GA, Oldham, CM and Paganoni, BL 2011. Improving the nutrition of Merino ewes during pregnancy and lactation increases weaning weight and survival of progeny but does not affect their mature size. Animal Production Science 51, 784793.
Torres-Hernandez, G and Hohenboken, W 1980. Relationships between ewe milk production and composition and preweaning lamb weight gain. Journal of Animal Science 50, 597603.
Umberger, SH, Goode, L, Caruolo, EV, Harvey, RW, Britt, JH and Linnerud, AC 1985. Effects of accelerated growth during rearing on reproduction and lactation in ewes lambing at 13 to 15 months of age. Theriogenology 23, 555564.
Yates, WJ and Pattie, WA 1970. The effect of genetic improvement within pure breeds on the performance of their crossbred lambs. Proceedings of the Australian Society of Animal Production 8, 154158.

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed