Feed intake of non•pregnant, pregnant and lactating ewes on native pasture and lucerne hay

Author: E.A.N. Engels and A. Malan
Year: 1979
Issue: 1
Volume: 9
Page: 27 - 31

The voluntary feed intake of non-pregnant, pregnant and lactating Merino- and S.A. Mutton Merino ewes on native pasture and chopped lucerne hay, was investigated. The crude protein content of the native pasture ranged from 8,6 per cent to 16,2 per cent. The in vitro digestibility of organic matter ranged from 57,3 per cent to 69,7 per cent. The average differences in feed intake between pregnant and non-pregnant ewes of both breeds in this study were not statistically significant. The feed intake of lactating S.A. Mutton Merino ewes did not differ significantly from that of dry ewes. However, in the case of the Merino ewes, lactation did increase feed intake significantly. On a lucerne diet it was found that the average feed intake of the ewes plus that of their lambs per metabolic body size of the ewes, was almost 116 per cent higher than that of dry ewes. Directly after weaning at four months of age, the average feed intake of the lambs was 85 per cent of that of dry ewes while their average live mass was only 50 per cent of that of the ewes.

Keywords: feed intake, pregnant-and lactating ewes
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