Agriculture and Food Systems - Theses

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    Intake and utilization of a barley supplement treated with virginiamycin by gestating and lactating ewes
    Boon-Ek, Lerchat ( 1991)
    A pen feeding study was conducted to evaluate the influence of virginiamycin (40 g virginiamycin/tonne barley ) on the production of pregnant and lactating ewes fed barley supplement. Twelve single and sixteen twin-bearing ewes were randomly allocated to one . of 3 groups to receive either lupins, barley or barley plus virginiamycin (BVM), fed for 3 weeks before and 3 weeks after lambing. During late pregnancy, feed intakes in ewes carrying twins were not altered by treatments. Mean liveweights at parturition of the barley-supplemented 'ewes. were below than those of the other groups (p=0.14). Feed conversion efficiency was significantly improved (p=0.05) in the lupin and BVM groups as compared to the barley supplemented ewes. The condition score of the ewes was not improved by supplementation and type of supplement had no effects on body condition score loss. Mean retention time of Cr-hay in the GI tract was increased (p<0.05) by supplementation with virginiamycin treated grain. However the dry matter digestibility on the BVM diet was not improved (p<0.05) as compared to the lupin supplemented ewes. The performance of ewes carrying singles was generally unaffected by treatment (p>0.1). The. exception occurred during lactation, where the barley-supplemented ewes lost more weight than the other groups (p<0.05). Differences in the mean birth weight of twin lambs were significant (p=0.05) while those of lambs born as singles was not significant. Twin lambs from ewes fed barley showed significantly higher mortality (p<0.01) than lambs born to ewes in lupin and BVM groups. However , no single born lambs in any group died from birth to 42 days of age. No significant differences were found between total milk yields of ewes nursing either twin or single lambs. The yield of milk fat from ewes nursing twins in lupin group was significantly higher (p<0.05) at day 20 of lactation than the other groups. The results suggest that lupin grain was not superior to barley grain plus virginiamycin as a supplement for gestating and lactating ewes carrying twin lambs fed hay as a basal diet. However, on the basis of cost, barley plus virginiamycin would generally be prefered.