The effect of sward height during pregnancy on the wool follicle and fibre characteristics of twin and triplet born lambs
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 65, pp 168-172, Jan 2005
Article class: Conference PresentationNew Zealand Society of Animal Production
AbstractPrevious work estimating the impact of differential feeding of ewes during pregnancy, on lamb wool follicle development, has been done primarily with single- and twin-bearing ewes. The aim of this study was to compare the follicle development and fibre characteristics of twin- or triplet-born/reared lambs, born to ewes offered different sward height allowances during pregnancy and lactation. After pregnancy scanning, 186 twin- and triplet-bearing Romney ewes with 6 weeks wool growth, were randomly allocated to four different sward heights (2, 4, 6 and 8 cm). Within the first 24 hours of parturition ewes were transferred to one of two sward heights (4 and 8 cm). The wool and follicle characteristics of twin- (n = 65) and triplet-born (n = 63) ewe lambs were compared. Fleeces from triplet-born lambs were lighter (1.59 kg vs 1.82 kg, P < 0.05) and finer (32.7 μm vs 33.4 μm, P < 0.05) than those from their twin-born counterparts. Lambs born to ewes offered higher sward heights during pregnancy had increased loose wool bulk (P < 0.01). Although increasing sward height during pregnancy increased fibre diameter in twin-born lambs, there was no similar relationship for triplet-born lambs (P < 0.05). Sward height during pregnancy had no effect on secondary follicle number in twin-born lambs but, triplet-born lambs born to ewes grazed on the 4 cm sward tended to have significantly higher numbers of secondary follicles than those grazed on 6 cm (89.2 vs 66.0, P < 0.05). More work is necessary to determine whether this interaction has practical implications for breeding replacements. Nutritional treatments during lactation had no significant effects on lamb wool characteristics.
KEYWORDS: feeding; nutrition; follicle development; wool bulk; wool characteristics.
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