The objective of this study was to investigate the reproductive performance of ewes submitted to different feeding management before and during the breeding period. A total of 112 ewes, 63 in year one and 49 in year two of the study, from the genetic groups Hampshire Down, Ile de France, Suffolk and Corriedale, were used. The ewes were separated in three groups: T1 (without supplementation), T2 (supplemented with 600 g/day of ground corn) and T3 (supplemented with 600 g/day of a concentrate containing 75% of ground corn and 25% of soybean meal). Supplemented ewes (T2 and T3) had higher body weight and more weight gain until the end of the breeding period than those not supplemented. Body condition scores were also greater at the end of the breeding period for supplemented ewes, indicating a greater fat and muscle deposition. Supplementation did not improve fertility rate and twins birth rate, but increased birth rate in ewes supplemented with corn. Age and genetic group both affected birth rate. It was concluded that feeding corn to ewes improved the number of lambs per ewe.
body condition score; flushing; reproduction; sheep