The influence of lamb rearing system on ewe milk and lamb growth traits in dairy sheep
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NAFC-RIAP Nitra, 951 41 Lužianky, Slovak Republic
Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, 949 76 Nitra, Slovak Republic
Publication date: 2020-03-31
Corresponding author
M. Oravcová   

NAFC-RIAP Nitra, 951 41 Lužianky, Slovak Republic
J. Anim. Feed Sci. 2020;29(1):27-34
The objectives were to analyse ewe milk and lamb growth traits of Slovak Dairy sheep breed. Three lamb rearing systems were formed, i.e., ARM2: ewes milked twice daily throughout a whole lactation, lambs fed with milk replacer almost from birth to weaning; TRM1: ewes milked once daily and suckled by lambs in pre-weaning period; TRM0: ewes exclusively suckled by lambs in pre-weaning period. After weaning, all ewes were milked twice daily. General linear models were used for analyses of ewe daily/cumulative milk yields, fat, protein and lactose percentages/yields, usable dry matter yields and somatic cell scores in pre-weaning, post-weaning and lactation periods, and lamb live weights at birth/selected ages and their daily gains from birth to weaning. Lamb rearing system, ewe parity/age and litter size were considered as fixed factors. Additionally, lamb sex was included in growth analyses. The significantly highest cumulative milk yield was found in ARM2 ewes (202 ± 7 l); lower yield (by 17 and 64 l) was found in TRM1 and TRM0 ewes, respectively. In pre-weaning period, fat percentage and yield were significantly lower in TRM1 ewes (2.75 ± 0.14% and 0.85 ± 0.12 kg) than in ARM2 ewes (4.40 ± 0.13% and 2.76 ± 0.12 kg) as lamb contact makes ewes to with hold certain amounts of milk and fat in alveoli while machine milking to remain for offspring. No significant differences in daily gains among TRM1, TRM0 and ARM2 lambs were found (0.260 ± 0.007, 0.277 ± 0.006 and 0.259 ± 0.008 kg, respectively). Summarizing, without negative effect on lamb growth, TRM1 system seems to be the most appropriate.
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