Effects of nutritional plane before breeding on performance of hair sheep

TitleEffects of nutritional plane before breeding on performance of hair sheep
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsLourencon, RV, Dawson, LJ, Puchala, R, Ribeiro, LPS, Gipson, TA, Loetz, E, Rojas, MA, Calle, M, Scronce, AS, Goetsch, AL
JournalJournal of Animal Science
IssueSupplement 3
AbstractThe objective of the study was to determine effects of the nutritional plane before breeding on performance of different hair sheep breeds. Twenty-five Dorper, 27 Katahdin, and 32 St. Croix ewes with initial BW of 65.6, 65.7, and 54.3 kg (SEM=1.95) and body condition score (BCS; 1-5) of 3.35, 3.29, and 3.09, respectively, consumed wheat straw ad libitum for 11 wk before breeding. Ewes of each breed were divided into four groups, with two groups per nutritional plane (NP). Ewes on a low NP (Low-NP) were supplemented with 0.16% BW (DM) of soybean meal (SBM) and ewes on the high NP (High-NP) received 0.8% BW (DM basis) of 0.25% soybean meal and 0.75% ground corn. Ewes were divided into two groups for estrus synchronization. Four rams of each breed were used, two for the first 17 d of breeding and the other two from d 17 to 34. Conception and embryo mortality were determined by ultrasound imaging at 25 and approximately 40 d post-breeding. Average daily gain and BCS change were similar among breeds, but both were greater for High-NP vs. Low-NP (ADG: 57 vs. -4 g, SEM=8.1; BCS change: 0.22 vs. -0.02, SEM=0.041). Wheat straw DMI was greater (P=0.01) for Low-NP than for High-NP (2.02 and 1.58% BW, respectively; SEM=0.042) and for St. Croix than for Dorper and Katahdin (P=0.04; 1.96, 1.68, and 1.74% BW, respectively, SEM=0.060). There were no differences in the number of services or conception (P>0.05), and no embryo mortality was noted. In conclusion, NP did not influence reproductive performance assessed early after breeding despite differences in ADG and BCS change. This may be due to the initial moderate BCS and increased straw intake by Low-NP ewes.