Effects of age and nutritional status at mating on the reproductive and productive traits in Suffolk sheep kept under permanent outdoor management system

https://doi.org/10.17221/63/2016-CJASCitation:Ptáček M., Ducháček J., Stádník L., Fantová M. (2017): Effects of age and nutritional status at mating on the reproductive and productive traits in Suffolk sheep kept under permanent outdoor management system. Czech J. Anim. Sci., 62: 211-218.
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This study examined the variability of reproductive and productive traits in Suffolk sheep (a commercial flock, n = 316 ewes) with regard to the dams’ age or the nutritional status of sheep at mating under a year-round outdoor management. Data were collected across a 3-year monitoring period (totally 655 observations). The fixed effects of dam’s age (dams grouped as: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 years and older), ewe’s live weight (LW; ewes grouped as: < 72 kg; 72–83 kg; > 83 kg), and backfat thickness at mating (BT; ewes grouped as: < 7.9 mm; 7.9–10.5 mm; > 10.5 mm) were evaluated. The dam’s age influenced reproductive and productive traits such that 2- and 6-year and older ewes reached the lowest values. Ewes with LW > 83 kg had significantly higher lambing rate (11.8%) compared to those with LW < 72 kg. The group of ewes with LW < 72 kg gave birth to a significantly lower number of live lambs in litter (–8.9%) in comparison with LW < 83 kg group. An increase (9.9%; P < 0.01) of total litter weight at birth or an increase (12.5%; P < 0.05) of total litter weight at 100 days of age were detected in LW > 83 kg group compared to LW < 72 kg group. BT > 10.5 mm ewes had by 8.9% lower lambing rate (P < 0.05), by 6.8% lower litter size (P < 0.05), by 14.5% lower number of live lambs in litter (P < 0.01), and by 8.6% lower total litter weight at birth compared to BT < 7.9 mm ewes. A significantly lower total litter weight at 100 days of age (–10.8%) and a significantly lower total litter gain from birth to 100 days of age (–11.5%) were detected in BT > 10.5 mm ewes in comparison to BT 7.9–10.5 mm ewes.
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