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Reproduction of rocky mountain bighorn sheep ovis canadensis canadensis in washington usa birth dates yearling ram reproduction and neonatal diseases



Reproduction of rocky mountain bighorn sheep ovis canadensis canadensis in washington usa birth dates yearling ram reproduction and neonatal diseases



Northwest Science 62(4): 161-164



Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (Ovis c. canadensis) inhabited Washington state until the mid 1930's when all wild bighorn sheep became extinct. Re-introduction began in 1972, but basic comparative data are lacking on their reproductive success and diseases affecting survival. Birth dates of O. c. canadensis were determined from lambs of ewes bred in the wild in northeastern Washington and from lambs of ewes bred in captivity. Six lambs from ewes bred in the wild were born during 19 May-3 June, 1986. Ten lambs from ewes bred in captivity were born during 19 May-24 June, 1987. A yearling ram sired at least five of ten lambs in captivity. Birth weights of 15 newborn lambs averaged 4.9 kg (range, 31. kg - 5.9 kg). During the second year, four of ten lambs, including the last three born, died within six days after birth. Septicemia due to Escherichia coli caused the deaths. Accumulation of bacteria in the sheep enclosure following the initial births may have contributed to the deaths. These data indicate potential disease problems in nenonatal lambs, as well as newborn lamb weights and lambing dates in Washington.

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