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Volume 61, issue 2
Arch. Anim. Breed., 61, 221-228, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/aab-61-221-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Arch. Anim. Breed., 61, 221-228, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/aab-61-221-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Original study 13 Jun 2018

Original study | 13 Jun 2018

Body condition status at mating affects gestation length, offspring yield and return rate in ewes

Mehmet Akif Cam1,*, Ali Vaiz Garipoglu1,*, and Koray Kirikci2,* Mehmet Akif Cam et al.
  • 1Department of Animal Science, Agricultural Faculty, Ondokuz Mayis University, 55200 Atakum, Samsun, Turkey
  • 2Department of Animal Science, Agricultural Faculty, Ahi Evran University, 40100 Kirsehir, Turkey
  • *These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. The present study was planned to determine the effect of ewe body condition score (BCS) and parities on fertility, return rate, gestation length, fecundity, litter size and lamb birth weight. Data were collected from 284 heads of ewes with first to fifth parity and raised at a state farm for three consecutive (2002–2004) years. Teaser rams were used to monitor estrus twice daily in the morning and in the evening from September to October. BCSs and body weights (BWs) were recorded at mating and postpartum. The ewes, at mating time in breeding season and within first 6h after the expulsion of fetal membranes, were divided into four groups on the basis of their BCS: thin (BCS =  ≤ 2.0; n = 70; 38), medium (BCS = 2.5–3.0; n = 122; 142), fat (BCS = 3.5–4.0; n = 72; 59) and very fat (BCS =  ≥ 4.5; n = 20;17). BCSs and BWs of ewes at postpartum were highly correlated with lamb birth weight (R = 0.486, P < 0.01, and R = 0.130, P < 0.05, respectively). BCSs and BWs of ewes at postpartum had positive effects on lamb birth weight (Y = 3.43±0.10+0.130+0.047 ewe body condition score (EBCS), P < 0.01; Y = 2.92±0.42+0.018±0.009 ewe body weight (EBW), P < 0.05kg of lamb birth weight per BCS and kilogram of ewe live weight, respectively). The fertility rate, litter size and fecundity were higher in the medium and fat groups than thin and very fat groups (χ2 = 10.607, P < 0.01). The BW and BCS at postpartum affected gestation length positively (P < 0.05). Return rate or number of coitus for conception were higher (P < 0.05) in thin and very fat groups than medium and fat groups. The data revealed that the ewes with medium and fat body condition (BCS = 2.5–4.0) scores were profitable.

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In sheep production, the body condition scores and parities are important environmental factors affecting lamb yield. Extreme body condition scores (fattening state) lead to negative effects on lamb yield. In the present study, it was revealed that ewes with medium and fat body condition scores (BCS: 2.5–4.0) were profitable. It was shown that the body condition score had minimal effects on the birth weights of lambs, and the incidence of dystocia was increased in thin and very fat ewes.
In sheep production, the body condition scores and parities are important environmental factors...
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