The effects of birth rank (single or twin) and dam age on the lifetime productive performance of female dual purpose sheep (Ovis aries) offspring in New Zealand.

08:00 EDT 21st March 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "The effects of birth rank (single or twin) and dam age on the lifetime productive performance of female dual purpose sheep (Ovis aries) offspring in New Zealand."

Greater rates of genetic gain can be achieved by selecting animals born to younger parents. However, little is known about the lifetime performance of dual purpose ewes (Ovis aries) that are born to primiparous ewe lambs (8 to 9 months old at breeding). This experiment investigated the effect of being born from either a ewe lamb or mixed age dam as either a single or twin on the lifetime performance of ewe progeny. Lifetime performance was measured in terms of the life time live weights of the ewes, the weight and number of lambs born and weaned, the efficiency of production (kilograms of lamb weaned / predicted pasture intake (kgDM) of the ewes), and ewe survival. The study followed the lifetime production of 17 single and 41 twin female lambs born to mature ewes (M1 and M2, respectively), and 28 single and 29 twin lambs born to ewe lambs (L1 and L2, respectively). Over their lifetime L2 ewes were lighter (P<0.05) but had similar body condition scores to the other three ewe groups. There was no difference in average progeny weaning weight or total progeny litter weaning weights between groups. The M1 ewes had the greatest longevity (P<0.05) of the four groups. Even though L2 ewes were lighter than the other three groups, this was insufficient to increase their lifetime efficiency of production (kg lamb weaned/predicted pasture consumption), relative to the other groups. These results suggest farmers could select replacements born to ewe lambs without sacrificing animal production.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: PloS one
ISSN: 1932-6203
Pages: e0214021


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