Effect of Supplementary Feeding of Concentrate on Nutrient Utilization and Production Performance of Ewes Grazing on Community Rangeland during Late Gestation and Early Lactation

  • Chaturvedi, O.H. (Animal Nutrition Division, Central Sheep and Wool Research Institute) ;
  • Bhatta, Raghavendra (Animal Nutrition Division) ;
  • Santra, A. (Animal Nutrition Division) ;
  • Mishra, A.S. (Animal Nutrition Division) ;
  • Mann, J.S. (Grass and Forage Agronomy Section)
  • Received : 2002.12.05
  • Accepted : 2003.03.20
  • Published : 2003.07.01


Malpura and Kheri ewes (76) in their late gestation, weighing $34.40{\pm}0.95kg$ were randomly selected and divided into 4 groups of 19 each (G1, G2, G3 and G4). Ewes in all the groups were grazed on natural rangeland from 07.00 h to 18.00 h. Ewes in G1were maintained on sole grazing while ewes in G2, G3 and G4, in addition to grazing received concentrate mixture at the rate of 1% of their body weight during late gestation, early lactation and entire last quarter of pregnancy to early quarter of lactation, respectively. The herbage yield of the community rangeland was 0.82 metric ton dry matter/hectare. The diet consisted of (%) Guar (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba) bhusa, (59.2), Babool pods and leaves (17.2), Bajra (Pennisetum typhoides) stubbles (8.8), Doob (5.3), Aak (4.2) and others (5.3). The nutrient intake and its digestibility were higher (p<0.01) in G2, G3 and G4 as compared to G1 because of concentrate supplementation. The intakes of DM ($g/kg\;W{^0.75}$), DCP ($g/kg\;W{^0.75}$) and ME ($MJ/kg\;W{^0.75}$) were 56.7, 5.3 and 0.83; 82.7, 12.2 and 1.16; 82.7, 12.1 and 1.17 and 83.1, 12.3 and 1.18 in G1, G2, G3 and G4, respectively. The per cent digestibility of DM, OM, CP, NDF, ADF and cellulose was 57.9, 68.8, 68.7, 52.3, 37.5 and 68.4; 67.6, 76.1, 82.3, 60.6, 44.5 and 73.4; 67.6, 76.1, 81.5, 60.6, 44.8 and 74.5 and 67.6, 76.1, 82.3, 60.6, 44.7 and 73.3 in G1, G2, G3 and G4, respectively. The nutrient intake of G2, G3 and G4 ewes was sufficient to meet their requirements. The ewes raised on sole grazing lost weight at lambing in comparison to advanced pregnancy. However, ewes raised on supplementary feeding gained 1.9-2.5 kg at lambing. The birth weight of lambs in G2 (3.92) and G4 (4.07) was higher (p<0.01) than G1 (2.98), where as in G1 and G3 it was similar. The weight of lambs at 15, 45 and 60 days of age were higher in G2, G3 and G4 than in G1. Similarly, the average daily gain (ADG) after 60 days was also higher in G2, G3 and G4 than in G1. The milk-yield of lactating ewes in G2, G3 and G4 increased up to 150-250 g per day in comparison to G1. The birth weight, weight at 15, 30, 45 and 60 days, weight gain and ADG at 30 or 60 days was similar both in male and female lambs. It is concluded from this study that the biomass yield of the community rangeland is low and insufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of ewes during late gestation and early lactation. Therefore, it is recommended concentrate supplementation at the rate of 1% of body weight to ewes during these critical stages to enhance their production performance, general condition as well as birth weight and growth rate of lambs.


Supported by : National Agriculture Technology Project


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