The Effect of Dietary Fat Inclusion on Nutrient Intake and Reproductive Performance in Postpartum Awassi Ewes

  • Oqla, H.M. (Department of Animal production, Faculty of Agriculture, Jordan University of Science and Technology) ;
  • Kridli, R.T. (Department of Animal production, Faculty of Agriculture, Jordan University of Science and Technology) ;
  • Haddad, S.G. (Department of Animal production, Faculty of Agriculture, Jordan University of Science and Technology)
  • Received : 2003.11.11
  • Accepted : 2004.06.04
  • Published : 2004.10.01


The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of dietary fat inclusion on nutrient intake, body weight, milk production, return to estrus, pregnancy and lambing of winter-lambing, postpartum Awassi ewes. Thirty multiparous, winter-lambing Awassi ewes (body weight=51${\pm}$7.0 kg) were randomly assigned to three dietary treatments (n=10) for 62 days using a completely randomized design. Experimental diets were isonitrogenous, and were formulated to contain 0 (CON), 2.5 (MF), and 5% (HF) added fat, and 33% of the dietary crude protein (CP) as undegradable intake protein (UIP). On day 26 postpartum (day 0=parturition), ewes and their lambs were housed in individual pens for 28 days. Feed offered and refused was recorded daily. At the end of this period, ewes and their lambs within each treatment were combined into one group and fed their respective diet ad libitum. One fertile Awassi ram fitted with a marking harness was allowed with each group for 34 days. No significant (p>0.05) differences in dry matter intake, organic matter intake, and crude protein intake were observed for ewes fed the three experimental diets. No difference was observed in metabolizable energy intake (MEI) for ewes fed the CON and the MF diets (average 8.3 Mcal/d) diet. However, ewes fed the HF diet had greater(p<0.05) MEI compared with the rest of the treatments. Ewe body weights increased throughout the study, unaffected by the experimental diets. No significant differences in milk production were found among ewes fed the three experimental diets. No significant differences were observed in pregnancy rate (6/10, 5/10, 6/10 for CON, MF and HF diets, respectively), lambing rate and the number of lambs per ewe among the three treatments. postpartum reproductive performance of well-fed, winter-lambing Awassi ewes.


  1. Al-Wadi, D. I. M. 2003. Soybean meal as a source of ruminally undegradable protein to improve postpartum reproductive performance of Awassi ewes. Master Thesis. Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan.
  2. Delgadillo, J. A., E. Carrillo, J. Moran, G. Duarte, P. Chemineau and B. Malpaux. 2001. Induction of sexual activity of male Creole goats in subtropical northern Mexico using long days and melatonin. J. Anim. Sci. 79:2245-2252.
  3. Kridli, R. T., S. G. Haddad and M. M. Muwalla. 2001. The effect of feeding ruminally undegradable protein on postpartum reproduction of Awassi ewes. Asian-Aust. J. Anim. Sci. 14 (8):1125-1128.
  4. Sarwar, M., A. Sohaib, M. A. Khan and M. U. Nisa. 2003. Effect of feeding saturated fat on milk production and composition in crossbred dairy cows. Asian-Aust. J. Anim. Sci. 16:204-210.
  5. Schillo, K. K. 1992. Effects of dietary energy on control of luteinizing hormone secretion in cattle and sheep. J. Anim. Sci. 70:1271-1282.
  6. Gonzalez, A., B. D. Murphy, J. de Alba M. and J. G. Manns. 1987. Endocrinology of the postpartum period in the Pelibuey ewe. J. Anim. Sci. 64:1717-1724.
  7. Short, R. E. and D. C. Adams. 1988. Nutritional and hormonal interrelationships in beef cattle reproduction. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 68:29-39.
  8. Perry, R. C., L. R. Corah, R. C. Cochran, W. E. Beal, J. S. Stevenson, J. E. Minton, D. D. Simms and J. R. Brrethour. 1991. Influence of dietary energy on follicular development, serum gonadotropins, and first postpartum ovulation in suckled beef cows. J. Anim. Sci. 69:3762-3773.
  9. AOAC. 1990. Official Methods of Analysis, 15th Edition. Association of Official Analytical Chemists. Arlington, AV.
  10. Said, S. I., R. T. Kridli and M. M. Muwalla. 1999. Estimation of milk yield in suckled Awassi sheep under traditional feeding conditions. J. Appl. Anim. Res. 16:163-168.
  11. National Research Council. 1996. Nutrient requirements for dairy cattle. 6th edition. National Academy of Science, Washington, DC. (Review).
  12. Canfield, R. W. and W. R. Butler. 1989. Negative energy balance suppression of LH pulses in lactating dairy cows does not appear to operate through endogenous opioid peptides. J. Anim. Sci. 67(suppl. 1):368 (Abstr).
  13. National Research Council. 1985. Nutrient requirements for sheep. 6th edition. National Academy of Science, Washington, DC. (Review).
  14. Goering and P. J. Van Soest. 1970. Forage fiber analysis (apparatus, reagents, procedures, and some application). Agriculture Handbook No. 379. ARS, USDA, Washington, DC.
  15. Wettemann, R. P. and I. Bossis. 1999. Energy intake regulates ovarian function in beef cattle. Proc. Amer. Soc. Anim. Sci.
  16. Foxcroft, G. R. 1993. Female reproduction. In: reproduction in domesticated animals (Ed. G. J. King). Elsevier Science. pp. 129-145.
  17. SAS Institute Inc. 1985. SAS/STAT User’s Guide: statistics, Version 6. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, North Carolina.
  18. De Fries, C. A., D. A. Neuendorff and R. D. Randel. 1998. Fat supplementation influences postpartum reproductive performance in Brahman cows. J. Anim. Sci. 76:864-870.
  19. Randel, R. D. 1990. Nutrition and postpartum rebreeding in cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 68:853-862.
  20. Bergfeld, E. G. M., F. N. Kojima, A. S. Cupp, M. E. Wehrman, K. E Peters, M. Garcia-Winder and J. E. Kinder. 1994. Ovarian follicular development in prepubertal heifers is influenced by level of dietary energy intake. Biol. Reprod. 51:1051-1057.
  21. Rutter, L. M. and R. D. Randel. 1984. Postpartum nutrient intake and body condition: Effect on pituitary function and onset of estrus in beef cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 58:268-274.
  22. Epstein, H. 1982. Awassi sheep. World Anim. Rev. 44:9-18.
  23. Thomson, E. F., M. A. Martini and R. N. Tutwiler. 2003. Sheep management practices in Iraq, Jordan and Syria: the case of reproduction and fertility. International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).
  24. Lindsay, D. R., G. B. Martin and I. H. Williams. 1993. Nutrition and reproduction. In: reproduction in domesticated animals (Ed. G. J. King). Elsevier Science pp. 459-491.

Cited by

  1. Effect of Calcium Soap of Fatty Acids Supplementation on Serum Biochemical Parameters and Ovarian Activity during Out-of-the-Breeding Season in Crossbred Ewes vol.2012, pp.1537-744X, 2012,