Document Detail

A note on the reproductive performance of Damara, Dorper and Merino sheep under optimum management and nutrition for Merino ewes in the eastern wheatbelt of Western Australia.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21725705     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
The reproductive performance of 48 Damara, 42 Dorper and 46 Merino ewes was evaluated under an optimum nutritional regime for Merino ewes that included one annual joining in a mixed (cropping and sheep) farming system in the eastern wheatbelt of Western Australia (W.A.) over a 3-year period. In 2005, when the Damara, Dorper and Merino ewes were aged between 8 and 9 months at joining and weighed 41.2, 42.4 and 33.3 kg with average body condition scores of 2.3, 2.4 and 1.8, respectively, their weaning rates were 71% (Damara), 81% (Dorper) and 13% (Merino). The Merino ewes had significantly lighter body weights and were lower conditioned (p < 0.001) resulting in significantly lower weaning rates (p < 0.001). In 2006, the Damara, Dorper and Merino ewes weighed 61.9, 69.5 and 61.6 kg at joining, with body condition scores of 2.8, 3.3 and 2.8, respectively, resulting in weaning rates of 52% (Damara), 122% (Dorper) and 117% (Merino). While the Damara and Merino weights and body condition scores were not different (p > 0.05), the Damara weaning rates were significantly lower compared with the Dorper and Merino groups (p < 0.001). The Dorpers were heavier and greater conditioned (p < 0.001); however, the weaning rates between the Dorper and Merino were not different (p > 0.05). In 2007, the Damara, Dorper and Merino ewes weighed 71.6, 77.1 and 70.2 kg at joining with body condition scores of 2.8, 2.8 and 2.5, respectively. Again, the Dorper ewes were heavier (p < 0.001) than the Damaras and Merinos, which were not different (p > 0.05). The Damara and Dorper had the same body condition while the Merino ewes were less and different (p < 0.05). However, there were differences in weaning rates between the three breeds (p < 0.001), of 64% (Damara), 105% (Dorper) and 134% (Merino). Over the 3-year period, under a nutritional management system optimal for Merino sheep and with one annual joining, with increasing age the Merino ewes weaned more lambs. However, while the Damara and Dorper ewes conceived and weaned relatively high lamb numbers when they were joined as lambs, their reproductive performance decreased over time. This nutritional regime resulted in increased levels of fatness of the Damara and Dorper ewes with no increase in reproduction rates under an annual joining system. A significant factor for the lower conception and weaning rates in the Damara ewes was the enlarged fat tail due to the increased fat levels, which made it difficult for the rams to impregnate the ewes.
Tanya F Kilminster; Johan C Greeff
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2011-7-2
Journal Detail:
Title:  Tropical animal health and production     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1573-7438     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2011 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-7-4     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  1277355     Medline TA:  Trop Anim Health Prod     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
DAFWA-Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, Merredin and Perth, WA, Australia,
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