Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mid-pregnancy shearing pays off

Studies at New Zealand's Massey University showed that shearing a twin-bearing ewe at mid-pregnancy can increase lamb birth weights, weaning weights, and survival rates.

Researchers found that twin or triplet lambs born to ewes that were shorn 88 days after mating had up to 1.5 lbs. greater birth weight, up to 2.2 lbs. more weaning weight, and survivability was 3% higher. The ewes also grew 8.8 oz of extra wool for the year.

The "cold stress response" induced by the mid-pregnancy shearing makes the ewe metabolize some of her body fat reserves, generating more available energy for the unborn lambs. The ewes need to be kept well fed in order to obtain the birth weight response.

Read full article in Sheep! Magazine

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