Influence of Varying Levels of Dietary Undegraded Intake Protein Intake on Nutrient Intake, Body Weight Change and Reproductive Parameters in Postpartum Awassi Ewes

  • Haddad, S.G. (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) ;
  • Al-Wadi, D.M. (Department of Animal production, Faculty of Agriculture, Jordan University of Science and Technology)
  • Received : 2004.05.27
  • Accepted : 2004.12.17
  • Published : 2005.05.01


The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of dietary undegradable protein (UP) level on body weight change, nutrient intake, milk production and postpartum reproductive performance of Awassi ewes. Twenty-seven multiparous Awassi ewes (initial body weight = 53.3${\pm}$1.6 kg) were randomly assigned to three dietary treatments (9 ewes/treatment) for 62 days using a completely randomized design. Experimental diets were isonitrogenous (15.5% CP), isocaloric, and were formulated to contain 17.9 (LUP), 27.1 (MUP), and 34.0% (HUP) of the dietary CP as UP. On day 10${\pm}$3 (day 0 = parturition) ewes were housed in individual pens for 5 weeks. Feed offered and refused was recorded daily. At the end of this period, animals were removed from their pens and combined into 3 separate groups (LUP, MUP and HUP). One fertile, harnessed ram was allowed with each group for 34 days. Rams were rotated every 2 days among the three groups. Each group was offered the corresponding experimental diet. Organic matter, CP, UP and metabolizable energy intakes were higher (p<0.05) for ewes fed the HUP diet compared with ewes fed the LUP and MUP diets. Ewes fed the HUP diet gained more (p<0.05) weight compared with ewes fed the MUP diet (7.3 vs. 2.1 kg), while ewes fed the LUP diet lost an average of 2.1 kg. Pregnancy rate of ewes fed the HUP diet was 100%, compared with 66 and 33% for ewes fed the MUP and LUP diets, respectively. Lambing rate was greater (p<0.05) for ewes fed HUP (8/9) diet compared with ewes fed the MUP (4/9) and LUP (3/9) diets. These results indicate that Awassi ewes receiving adequate dietary UP level consume more feed and are capable of returning to estrus shortly after parturition and are capable of producing two lamb crops per year.


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