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Effect of level of supplementary feeding on mohair production and reproductive performance of Angora ewes grazing Atriplex nummularia (Oldman saltbush)

Verena Hobson, P.D. Grobbelaar, D. Wentzel and A. Koen

Agricultural Research Institute of the Karoo Region, Middelburg, Cape,

5900 Republic of South Africa


Pregnant, adult Angora ewes, supplemented with either 0, 200, 400 or 600 g of alkali-ionophore treated whole maize per ewe per day were kept on Atriplex nummularia pasture for the entire gestational period. Changes in live bodymass, reproductive performance, and various mohair traits were recorded, Live bodymass gain during gestation was closely related to the amount of supplementation provided and, highly significant differences (P < 0,01) occurred between all groups, except between the groups receiving 200 and 400 g alkali-ionophore-treated whole maize respectively. No significant differences in the recorded mohair traits occurred between the various groups. Although the results suggest that pregnant Angora ewes could maintain pregnancy on A. nummularia only, such animals run a relatively high risk of abortion especially during adverse weather conditions such as cold and wet spells. Supplementation of ewes on A. nummularia at a rate of approximately 300 g alkali-ionophore-treated whole maize per head per day is indicated.



South African journal of animal science 16 (2)