Friday, January 27, 2012

Protein supplemenation during pregnancy

British and Greek researchers collaborated to determine the effect of increased protein supplementation on fecal egg counts and the performance of ewes and lambs.

Seventy-two, twin-bearing Greyface ewes were used in the experiment. They were fed at 0.9 times their metabolizable energy (ME) requirement and either 0.8 (LP) or 1.3 (HP) times their metabolizable protein (MP) requirement.

Periparturient ewe
Their diet consisted of 1/3 chopped hay and 2/3 concentrate. Every Mon-Wed-Fri from day(-42) to d-25, they were trickle-infected with different levels of Teladorsagia circumcinta larvae:  1,000, 5,000, or 10,000.

Immediately after lambing, HP ewes were heavier than LP ewes and this effect was maintained throughout lactation. Litters from HP ewes grew faster than litters from LP ewes (708 vs 651 g/d).

Protein supplementation also reduced fecal egg counts throughout lactation. The reduction in fecal egg counts is important, as nematode egg excretion by periparturient ewes is the main source of infection for their immunologically naive lambs.

Source:  Animal Bytes     Read summary article

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