Advanced SearchSearch Tips
Body Weight Change, Milk Production and Reproductive Parameters in Suckled vs. Non-suckled Awassi Ewes
facebook(new window)  Pirnt(new window) E-mail(new window) Excel Download
 Title & Authors
Body Weight Change, Milk Production and Reproductive Parameters in Suckled vs. Non-suckled Awassi Ewes
Ishmais, M.A. Abu; Kridli, R.T.; Omer, S.A.;
  PDF(new window)
The objective of this study was to identify the effect of early weaning on body weight change, milk production and the return to estrus in Awassi ewes. Twenty multiparous winter-lambing Awassi ewes were randomly assigned to either suckled (S, n=10) or non-suckled (NS, n=10) groups in a completely randomized design. Lambs in the NS group were removed from their dams on day 2 postpartum (PP). Animal body weights (BW) and body condition scores (BCS) were recorded at the beginning of the study and every 3 weeks thereafter until the end of the experiment. Milk production was estimated by machine milking at weekly intervals for 4 weeks beginning on d 11 PP. Blood samples were collected from each ewe every third day for 4 weeks beginning on day 15 PP. Initial body weight was similar for both treatments. By the end of the experiment, NS ewes gained an average of 1.81.0 kg while S ewes lost an average of 7.01.0 kg (p<0.001). Body condition scores followed a trend similar to that observed for BW and was greater (p<0.001) in the NS ewes. Significant correlation existed (p<0.01) between BW and BCS (r=0.77). The first milk production recording for both suckled and non-suckled was similar. Later recordings, however, showed that the S group had greater milk production (p<0.01) compared with the NS group. Lambs in the NS group were heavier (p<0.05) than those in the S group on d 10 PP. By the end of the study, lamb weights in the NS group were significantly lower (p<0.001) when compared with S group. The first rise in plasma progesterone () occurred earlier (p<0.05) in the NS than S ewes (day 27.02.2 vs. 34.02.2 postpartum, respectively). All of the NS ewes (10/10) and 60% (6/10) of the S ewes expressed estrus following ram introduction (p<0.05). Results of the current study indicate that non-suckled ewes gained more weight and displayed ovarian activity earlier than suckled ewes. Early lamb removal can be used to obtain biannual lambing in Awassi sheep.
Awassi Sheep;Suckling;Postpartum;Reproduction;
 Cited by
Boland, M. P., P. Lonergan and D. O’Callaghan. 2001. Effect of nutrition on endocrine parameters, ovarian physiology, and oocyte and embryo development. Theriogenology 55:1323-1340.

Carruthers, T. D. and H. D. Hafs. 1980. Suckling and four times daily milking: influence on ovulation, estrus and serum LH, glucocorticoids and prolactin in postpartum Holstein. J. Anim. Sci. 50:919-925.

Edgerton, L. A. 1980. Effect of lactation upon the postpartum interval. J. Anim. Sci. 51(Suppl. II):40-52.

Epstein, H. 1982. Awassi sheep. World Anim. Rev. 44:9-18.

Fadel, I., J. B. Owen, R. Kassem and H. Juha. 1989. A note on the milk composition of Awassi ewes. Anim. Prod. 48:606-610.

Fray, M. D., G. E. Lamming and W. Haresign. 1995. Induction of ovulation in the acyclic postpartum ewe following continuous, low-dose subcutaneous infusion of GnRH. Theriogenology 43:1019-1030.

Hamadeh, S. K., E. K. Barbour, M. Abi-Said and K. Daadaa. 1996. Reproductive performance of postpartum Awassi ewes under different lambing regimes. Small Rum. Res. 19(2):149-154.

Harb, M. 1994. The use of progesterone sponges and PMSG in Awassi sheep reproduction. Dirasat. 21:149-161.

Kridli, R. T., S. G. Haddad and M. M. Muwalla. 2001. The effect of feeding ruminally undegradable protein on postpartum reproduction of Awassi ewes. Asian-Aust. J. Anim. Sci. 14:1125-1128.

Mandiki, S. N. M., J. L. Bister and R. Paquay. 1990. Effects of suckling mode on endocrine control of reproductive activity resumption in Texel ewes lambing in July or November. Theriogenology 33:397-413.

Mbayahaga, J., S. N. M. Mandiki, J. L. Bister and R. Paquay. 1998. Body weight, oestrus and ovarian activity in the local Burundian ewes and goats after parturition in the dry season. Anim. Reprod. Sci. 51(4):289-300.

Mitchell, L. M., M. E. King, F. E. Gebbie, M. J. Ranilla and J. J. Robinson. 1998. Resumption of estrus and ovarian cyclicity during the postpartum period in autumn-lambing ewes is not influenced by age or dietary protein content. Animal Science 67:65-72.

National Research Council. 1985. Nutrient requirement of sheep. $6^{th}$ Rev. Edition. National Academy of Sciences. Washington, DC.

Rhind, S. M., S. McMillen, W. A. C. Mckelvey, F. F. Rodriguez-Herrejon and A. S. McNeilly. 1989. Effect of the body condition of ewes on the secretion of LH and FSH and the pituitary response to gonadotropin-releasing hormone. J. Endocrinol. 120:497-502.

Rutter, L. M. and R. D. Randel. 1984. Postpartum nutrient intake and body condition: Effect on pituitary function and onset of estrus in beef cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 58: 265-274.

SAS Institue Inc. 1989. SAS/STAT User’s Guide: Version 6. 4th edn. SAS Institute Inc. Cary, North Carolina.

Scaramuzzi, R. J., Y. Cognie and J. A. Downing. 1996. The ovarian secretion of androstenedione and estradiol during late pregnancy and the early postpartum period in sheep with an autotransplanted ovary. Reprod. Nutr. Dev. 36:531-543.

Schillo, K. K. 1992. Effects of dietary energy on control of luteinizing hormone secretion in cattle and sheep. J. Anim. Sci. 70:1271-1282.

Schirar, A., Y. Cognie, F. Louault, N. Poulin, M. C. Levasseur and J. Martinet. 1989. Resumption of estrus behavior and cyclic ovarian activity in suckling ewes and non-suckling ewes. J. Reprod. Fertil. 87:789-794.

Schirar, A., Y. Cognie, F. Louault, N. Poulin, M. C. Levasseur and J. Martinet. 1990. Resumption of gonadotrophin release during the postpartum period in suckling ewes and non-suckling ewes. J. Reprod. Fertil. 88:593-604.

Smart, D., I. Singh, R. F. Smith and H. Dobson. 1994. Opioids and suckling in relation to inhibition of estradiol-induced LH secretion in postpartum ewes. J. Reprod. Fert. 101:115-119.

Tasende, C., A. Meikle, E. Rubianes and E. G. Garofalo. 1996. Restoration of estrogen and progesterone uterine receptors during the ovine postpartum period. Theriogenology 45:1545-1551.

Wallace, J. M., J. J., Robinson and R. P. Aitken. 1989. Does inadequate luteal function limit the establishment of pregnancy in early postpartum ewe? J. Reprod. Fertil. 85:229-240.

Williams, G. L. 1990. Suckling as a regulator of postpartum rebreeding in cattle: A review. J. Anim. Sci. 68:831-852.

Yavas, Y. and J. S. Walton. 2000. Postpartum acyclicity in beef cows: A review. Theriogenology 54:25-55.