Winter-feeding systems for gestating sheep I. Effects on pre- and postpartum ewe performance and lamb progeny preweaning performance1

A. E. Radunz, F. L. Fluharty, H. N. Zerby, S. C. Loerch
2011 Journal of Animal Science  
Mature pregnant crossbred ewes (n = 90) were used in a randomized complete block design and assigned to 1 of 3 winter-feeding systems differing in primary feed source: haylage (HL), limit-fed corn (CN), or limit-fed dried distillers grains (DDGS). Effects of these winter-feeding strategies on ewe and lamb performance were determined. Diets were formulated to meet or exceed NRC (1985) nutrient requirements during gestation and were fed from about d 60 of gestation until parturition. All ewes
more » ... fed a common diet postpartum. Every 2 wk during gestation, BW and BCS were collected and diets were adjusted to maintain similar BW gain for ewes fed CN and DDGS vs. HL. At 80 and 122 d of gestation, jugular blood samples were collected at 0, 3, 6, and 9 h postfeeding to measure plasma glucose, insulin, NEFA, and blood urea nitrogen concentrations. At birth, 6 lambs per treatment were killed to measure body composition. At 28 ± 2 d postpartum, milk yield was measured. Lambs were weaned at 61 ± 4 d of age. During mid gestation (d 60 to 115), BW gain of ewes was similar among treatments; however, at d 115 of gestation ewes fed HL had a smaller (P = 0.04) BCS than ewes fed DDGS or CN. Plasma glucose concentrations were greater (P ≤ 0.004) in ewes fed CN than in those fed HL or DDGS just before feeding on d 80 and 122 of gestation, whereas ewes fed DDGS vs. CN or HL had greater (P ≤ 0.04) plasma insulin concentrations at 3 h postfeeding. At parturition, ewe BW was greatest for DDGS, least for HL, and intermediate for CN (P ≤ 0.003). Ewes fed CN and DDGS had greater BCS at parturition than those fed HL, but by weaning, ewes fed DDGS had greater BCS (P ≤ 0.05) than those fed CN or HL. Birth BW tended (P = 0.09) to be heavier for lambs from ewes fed CN and DDGS than from those fed HL prepartum, but there was no difference (P = 0.19) due to ewe gestation diet on lamb BW at weaning. At birth, lamb muscle, bone, organ, and fat measures were not affected (P > 0.13) by treatment. Ewe milk production and lamb preweaning ADG were also similar (P > 0.44) among treatments. Prepartum dam winter feed source did not have detrimental effects on pre-or postpartum ewe performance, but altered prepartum maternal nutrient supply during gestation, which affected birth weight but not preweaning growth or mortality.
doi:10.2527/jas.2010-3035 pmid:21262977 fatcat:eggafqerszgb3l4pkn3x2uwxri