- Influence of pregnancy on intake of feedlot Merino ewes
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THE INFLUENCE OF PREGNANCY ON INTAKE OF FEEDLOT MERINO EWES
A.G. Bezuidenhout & *J.E.J. du Toit
Cradock Experimental Station, Cradock.
*University of the Orange Free State, Bloemfontein.
The ad libitum intake of 12 individually fed ewes was measured daily to investigate the influence of pregnancy on intake. The ewes received lucerne hay only and during the last eight weeks of pregnancy and lactation the ration was changed to 80 per cent Lucerne hay and 20 per cent maize-meal. The average dry matter intake (DMI) did not show major differences (P>0,01) during the dry period compared to those recorded during the first 15 weeks of pregnancy. The intake declined during the last six weeks of pregnancy with the lowest intake of 55,6 ± 3,6 g per W0.75 during the last two weeks. This highly significantly (P ≤ 0,01) lower intake was 21,6 per cent lower than during the previous four weeks and 29,9 per cent lower than that recorded during mid-pregnancy. The average DMI increased sharply during lactation. Compared to the dry period with an average intake of 78,1 ± 7 g per W 0.75 the intake increased to 85,5 ± 5,4 g per W 0.75 during the first four weeks of lactation. These differences were highly significant (P ≤ 0,01). During lactation the average intake of an ewe-lamb unit was calculated as the average intake per W 0.75 of the ewe. It is concluded that late pregnancy has a drastically negative influence on intake of the ewe.
Proceedings 30th SASAP congres