The Sheep Research and Teaching Facility at Michigan State University (MSU) reports what it believes to be the "World's Fastest Growing Sheep."
MSU 8130, a Suffolk ram, was born on Feb. 8, 2008, as a 20-pound single. He was weaned on April 16, at an age of 68 days, and weighed 120 pounds. At 120 days of age, MSU 8130 tipped the scales at 203 pounds with a post weaning 60-day growth rate of 1.6 pounds per day.
MSU 8130 was part of a research study at MSU evaluating growth rate and feed efficiency in Suffolk ram lambs. Rams are fed for 42 days post weaning using feed intake recording equipment.
MSU 8130 had a feed conversion rate of 3.87 pounds of feed per pound of gain. At 96 days of age, weighing 163 pounds, MSU 8130 was scanned using ultrasound and was found to have a 12th rib fat measurement of 0.21 inches and a loin eye area of 3.71 square inches.
Another ram, MSU 8139, born as a 16-pound twin on Feb. 11, was weaned at 93 pounds at 65 days of age. At 120 days of age, MSU 8139 weighed 199 pounds with a post weaning 60-day growth rate of 1.91 pounds per day.
MSU 8139 had a feed conversion rate of 3.39 pounds of feed per pound of gain. At 114 days of age, weighing 184 pounds, MSU 8139 was scanned using ultrasound and was found to have a 12th rib fat measurement of 0.21 inches and a loin eye area of 3.53 square inches.
Both rams were sired by Culham & Stevens 5BR155, the National Sheep Improvement Program Suffolk trait leading sire for both weaning weight and post-weaning gain.
Reprinted from ASI Weekly News, 8.22.08