Evaluation of the progeny of Australian Merino ewes crossed with Dorper or Southdown ram

G. Bianchi S. Carvalho J. Rivero About the authors

This study aimed to evaluate the effect of ram genotype (Dorper or Southdown), sex and birth type on the growth characteristics of 268 lambs from Australian Merino ewes. Until weaning all animals were kept on red clover pasture (Trifolium pretense), chicory (Cychorium intibus), white clover (Trifolium repens), fescue (Festuca arundinacea) and ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), with a stocking rate of 10 sheep and their lambs/ha. From weaning (29.95±4.94kg of body weight and 109.45±7.41 day-old), the lambs remained on the same pasture which was used during lactation, being subsequently finished on a soybean culture (Glycine max), with a stocking rate of 30 lambs/ha. No effect of ram genotype (P>0.05) was verified on any of the variables. On the other hand, the males (criptorquidas) presented superior weight gain from birth to weaning and from weaning until shipment of lambs for slaughter, (241 and 212g/day; 121 and 94g/day, for males and females, respectively; P≤0.001), which provided a body weight at shipment 14.9% higher than the female (40.89 and 35.59kg, for males and females, respectively; P≤0.001). Lambs originated from simple delivery presented higher (P≤0.001) body weight and body measures at birth, and a higher growth rate until weaning (239 and 214g/day, simple and double delivery, respectively; P≤0.001). Therefore, after weaning, the lambs originated from double delivery presented higher weight gain (98 and 117g/day) (P≤0.05) and were superior (P≤0.001) in kilograms of weaned lambs (26.80 and 49.61kg) or shipped (33.91 and 64.69kg) per parity ewes. Regardless of the sex and birth type, all lambs overcame the weight and body conditions required for commercialization of heavy lambs in Uruguai in half the average time of traditional genotypes.

heavy lambs; cross-breed; twins; meat production

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