Surveys of flocks in the Near East have shown that lambing percentages of Awassi ewes are rarely above 85% and often as low as 65%. This is a major cause of the low output of sheep systems in the region. The low fertility results from a combination of poor nutrition, poor management, disease and possibly the effects of high temperatures at mating, which generally occurs in mid-summer.
Studies by Kassem et al (1989) and Thomson and Bahhady (1988) indicated that the reproductive performance of Awassi ewes is affected by body condition at mating. Neither of these studies was specifically designed to investigate the effects of weight or body condition and level of nutrition before mating on reproduction in Awassi ewes. The experiment reported here is the second in a series specifically designed to investigate the effects of body condition at mating, and level of nutrition before and after mating, on the fertility of Awassi ewes.