Effects of partial replacement of barley with sugar beet pulp on pre- and post-partum performance of Zel ewes
Sixteen Zel ewes (BW = 37 ± 3.10 kg) were used in a completely randomized design to determine the effects of partial replacement of barley grain with beet pulp (BP), during late pregnancy and early lactation, on litter weight, lamb’s daily gain, milk yield and milk composition. Dietary treatments were initiated approximately three weeks prior to expected lambing dates, and continued for three weeks post-partum. Treatments consisted of 1) a basal diet + 330 g/kg of barley grain (BBG), and 2) a basal diet + 195 g/kg of barley + 135 g/kg BP (BBP). The basal diet contained 444, 117, 101 and 8 g/kg of wheat straw, wheat bran, canola meal and mineral-vitamin mix supplement, respectively. Both diets were offered as a total mixed ration twice daily. Partial replacement of BP increased feed intake. Diets did not affect milk compositions but feeding BBP increased milk yield (1084 vs. 737 g/d), litter weight (3453 vs. 2735 g) and lambs’ daily gain (218 vs. 156 g/d). The lambs’ live weight at 14 d (5992 vs. 4749 g) and 21 d (7553 vs. 5854 g) was affected by maternal nutrition and a higher BBP. The results of this study indicate that late gestation and early lactation ewes can be supplemented with BP without detrimental effects on milk production or milk composition, and feeding ewes with BP during this period resulted in increased litter weight and growth of lambs.
Keywords: Dietary carbohydrate source, sheep, lambs, non-forage fibre, non-fibre carbohydrate