Effect of Flushing on Nutrient Utilization and Reproductive Performance of Ewes Grazing on Community Rangeland

Chaturvedi, O.H.;Bhatta, Raghavendra;Verma, D.L.;Singh, N.P.

  • Received : 2004.12.31
  • Accepted : 2005.04.06
  • Published : 2006.04.01


The present study was undertaken to evaluate the effect of flushing of ewes with concentrate pellets just before the mating season on their nutrient utilization and reproductive performance on farms. Forty-eight Malpura ewes, 1-5 years old were randomly divided into 2 groups of 24 each (G1and G2). Ewes in both the groups were grazed on natural rangeland from 07.00 to 18.00 hr followed by night shelter in animal shed. G1 ewes were maintained on sole grazing while G2 ewes, in addition to grazing, received concentrate pellets at the rate of 1.5% of their body weight. The mean biomass yield of the community rangeland was 0.46 ton DM/hectare. The intakes of DM (g/kg $W^{0.75}$), DCP (g/kg $W^{0.75}$) and ME (MJ/kg $W^{0.75}$) were higher (p<0.01) in G2 as compared to that of G1 being 86.5, 10.2 and 1.15 and 57.5, 4.7 and 0.75, respectively. The digestibility of DM, OM, CP, NDF and hemicellulose were also higher (p<0.01) in G2 as compared to that of G1 being 57.2, 76.7, 78.9, 51.9 and 81.6 and 50.8, 68.7, 68.4, 45.4 and 74.4, respectively. The conception rate was higher (79.2%) in flushed ewes as compared to that of non-flushed (66.7%). Five of the pregnant ewes died and another 5 aborted in G1 while in G2, 5 ewes aborted with no mortality. The lambing was higher (73.7%) in G2 than that in G1 (37.5%). The birth weight of lambs was higher (p<0.05) in G2 (3.47 kg) than that in G1 (2.95 kg). Further, the birth weight of male lambs was higher (3.28) than that of female lambs (3.14). It is concluded that the biomass yield of the community rangeland in semi-arid region of India is low and insufficient to meet the nutrient requirement of ewes prior to mating season. However, concentrate supplementation at the rate of 1.5% of body weight to ewes during this critical stage enhanced their plane of nutrition, reproductive performance, body condition and birth weights of lambs.


Flushing;Nutrient Utilization;Reproductive Performance;Ewes;Community Rangeland


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