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Variation in intake among group-fed pregnant Scottish Blackface ewes given restricted amounts of food

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 September 2010

Janet Z. Foot
Affiliation:
Hill Farming Research Organisation, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian EH26 OPH
A. J. F. Russel
Affiliation:
Hill Farming Research Organisation, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian EH26 OPH
T. J. Maxwell
Affiliation:
Hill Farming Research Organisation, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian EH26 OPH
P. Morris
Affiliation:
Hill Farming Research Organisation, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian EH26 OPH
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Summary

The intakes of concentrates and hay by individuals in three groups of ewes were estimated at three-weekly intervals in late pregnancy from faecal output; chromic oxide was incorporated as a marker in the concentrates. The groups were: (1) 16 mature ewes, (2) 16 2-year-old ewes, (3) eight mature and eight 2-year-old ewes. A constant daily hay allowance of 734 g dry matter (DM)/sheep was given but the concentrate was increased from an equivalent of 96 g DM/sheep at the beginning of the experiment to 435 g at the end. Individual concentrate intakes were most variable when the group allowance was small (CV over 50% in the mixed group) but variation decreased when amounts of concentrates were increased to contribute up to 47% of the total digestible DM intake. The CV for the total digestible DM intake ranged from 13 to 24%.

The younger sheep were at no disadvantage when penned with mature ewes. Intakes by individual ewes were compared with their calculated requirements and several twin-bearing ewes were shown to have a substantial energy deficit which was confirmed by their higher plasma ketone concentrations.

A major practical difficulty in group-feeding pregnant ewes is to ensure that the ewes with the highest foetal burden are adequately fed.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © British Society of Animal Science 1973

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References

Cloete, J. H. L. 1939. Prenatal growth in merino sheep. Onderstepoort J. vet. Sci. Anim. Ind. 13:415558.Google Scholar
Foot, Janet Z. and Russel, A. J. F. 1973. Some nutritional implications of group-feeding hill sheep. Anim. Prod. 16: 293302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Patterson, D. S. P. 1963. Some observations on the estimation of non-esterifled fatty acid concentrations in cow and sheep plasma. Res. vet. Sci. 4: 230237.Google Scholar
Reid, R. L. 1960. The determination of ketone bodies in the blood. Analyst, Lond. 85: 265271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Russel, A. J. F. 1971. Relationships between energy intake and productivity in hill sheep. Proc. Nutr. Soc. 30: 197204.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Russel, A. J. F., Doney, J. M. and Reid, R. L. 1967. Energy requirements of the pregnant ewe. J. agric. Sci., Camb. 68: 359363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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