- Effect of dietry energy and protein levels on early embryonic morality in young and mature Merino ewes
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EFFECT OF DIETARY ENERGY AND PROTEIN LEVELS ON EARLY EMBRYONIC MORTALITY IN YOUNG AND MATURE MERINO EWES
J. M. VAN DER WESTHUYSEN, Agricultural Research Institute of the Karoo Region, Middelburg, Cape Province .
Twenty-eight mature multiparous and 28 two-tooth maiden ewes were included in a 23 factorial experiment in which the effects of age and of high and low planes of protein and energy feeding for three weeks from mating on embryonic mortality were studied. In addition, a random sample of thirteen additional ewes from each age group was laparotomized and their ova recovered to estimate the expected lambing rates. Although neither protein nor energy feeding significantly influenced the number of ewes lambing or the number of lambs born per treatment group, young ewes produced significantly less lambs than old ewes. In addition young ewes proved to be more sensitive to low protein feeding with regard to lambing performance. All the treatment groups, except the mature ewes and ewes receiving high energy feeding, had significantly (P< 0,-05) less lambs, predicted after laparotomy. It is concluded that feeding may have had an influence on embryonic mortality.
Agroanimalia 3 (2)