Search National Agricultural Library (NAL) Digital Collections
Showing item 0 of
from your search.
Influence of body weight, age, and weight gain on fertility and prolificacy in four breeds of ewe lambs
- Breeding ewes to lamb at 1 yr of age can improve profitability for some production systems. The first objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of age and weight at breeding and total postweaning weight gain on reproductive performance of ewe lambs. The second objective was to compare the effects of weight and age variables in four major sheep breeds (Columbia, Polypay, Rambouillet, and Targhee). Weights, ages, and the binary traits of fertility (pregnant or nonpregnant) and prolificacy (one lamb born vs. two or more) were collected on 2,055 ewe lambs at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station, Dubois, ID, from 1984 through 1988. The effects of age and weight at breeding and total weight gain from weaning to breeding on fertility and prolificacy were analyzed with a logit model in a maximum likelihood analyses. Differences (P < 0.001) among breeds for fertility were identified, with a 93% fertility rate for Polypay ewe lambs compared with lower fertility rates in Columbia, Targhee, and Rambouillet ewe lambs (50, 60, and 75%, respectively). The percentage of multiple births (prolificacy rate) also was higher (P < 0.001) in the Polypay (47%) than in Columbia, Targhee, and Rambouillet breeds (1, 13, and 14%, respectively). Averaged across breeds, weight at breeding had a positive effect on fertility and prolificacy (P < 0.001), whereas total weight gain from weaning to breeding had a positive effect only on fertility (P < 0.027). In separate analyses for each breed, increasing age (P < 0.001) and weight at breeding (P < 0.001) increased the probability of pregnancy in Rambouillet ewe lambs. The probability of pregnancy for Targhee ewe lambs increased (P < 0.005) with weight at breeding. Increasing weight at breeding increased (P < 0.004) the probability of multiple births in all breeds. Increasing total postweaning weight gain increased (P < 0.007) the probabilities of multiple births in Rambouillet and Targhee ewe lambs. In conclusion, Polypay ewe lambs were superior in fertility and prolificacy to Columbia, Rambouillet, and Targhee under Western range conditions. Improved reproductive performance of Columbia, Rambouillet, and Targhee ewe lambs may be achieved by increasing age and weight at breeding and postweaning gain.
Gaskins, C. T. , Snowder, G. D. , Westman, M. K. , Evans, M.
lambs , ewes , body weight , animal age , liveweight gain , animal fertility , animal reproduction , sheep breeds , food animals , litter size , pregnancy rate , pregnancy , Idaho
- Includes references
- Journal of animal science 2005 Jul., v. 83, no. 7
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
- Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.