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The intake of silage and grazed herbage by masham ewes with single or twin lambs and its repeatability during pregnancy lactation and after weaning

The intake of silage and grazed herbage by masham ewes with single or twin lambs and its repeatability during pregnancy lactation and after weaning

Animal Production 33(2): 121-128

There was no difference in intake between ewes with singles or twins in pregnancy, lactation or after weaning. The metabolizable energy intakes, from silage and concentrates, of the ewes with singles and twins were 10.1 and 10.0 MJ/head per day in wk 7 and 6 pre-partum, 21.4 and 19.9 MJ in wk 3 and 2 pre-partum, and 24.4 and 23.8 MJ in the 1st wk of lactation. The intakes from grass and concentrates were 32.3 and 33.8 MJ in wk 5 and 6 of lactation for the ewes with singles and twins, respectively, and 13.8 and 15.2 MJ from grass alone after weaning. There was no effect of ewe liveweight on intake and, although the ewes with singles were producing less milk than those with twins, their intakes were similar. The same ewes consistently ate the most feed. The overall coefficient of concordance was 0.56 and the coefficients for mid- and late-pregnancy, late pregnancy and early lactation, and early- and mid-lactation were 0.57, 0.62 and 0.66, respectively. The ewes with twins that consistently ate the most lost less weight in pregnancy, produced similar litter weights and suckled lambs that grew faster. Their levels of intake and production were high: the growth rate from 0-6 wk of age of the twin lambs suckling the large-eaters was 721 g/day compared with 631 g/day for those suckling the small-eaters. During lactation the ewes with singles appeared to consume more metabolizable energy than their maintenance, milk yield and liveweight gain requirements justified, whereas the group of smaller-eating ewes with twins put on more weight than expected from their intakes.

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Accession: 006703697

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DOI: 10.1017/s000335610004054x

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