Three isonitrogenous diets with different levels of metabolizable energy (ME; 10.3, 10.9, and 11.5. MJ/kg) were fed to lactating ewes to study the relationships among milk yield and feed intake, growth rate, and carcass traits of early-weaned lambs. Eighteen multiparous Texel. ×. Ile de France ewes (55.7. ±. 1.3. kg of initial body weight; BW) supporting single male lambs were penned individually at 24. h after lambing and evaluated for 42 days. Lambs had free access to a creep feeding system before weaning (42 days of age), and after that they were individually penned and fed a common diet until reaching the slaughter weight (32. kg of BW). Carcasses were then evaluated after 24. h of refrigeration. Dry matter and ME intake of ewes presented a quadratic relationship with energy level of the diet (P< 0.05), and it directly affected milk yield (P< 0.01). Milk yield was correlated with DM intake (r= -0.75; P< 0.01) and growth rate (r= 0.74; P< 0.01) of lambs from birth to weaning. On the other hand, in this period there was no relationship between solid feed intake and ADG of lambs (r= -0.05; P>. 0.05). Therefore, creep feed supplementation was not enough to support a similar growth rate among lambs ingesting different amounts of milk. From weaning to slaughter, DM intake of lambs was greater (P< 0.05) for the lambs raised by ewes in the low-energy group, resulting in a worse feed efficiency (P< 0.05). No remarkable changes were observed in carcass traits. We concluded that improving ewe nutrition and consequently the early life nutrition of lambs can really increase profitability of lamb meat production. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.
Galvani, D. B., Pires, C. C., Hübner, C. H., Carvalho, S., & Wommer, T. P. (2014). Growth performance and carcass traits of early-weaned lambs as affected by the nutritional regimen of lactating ewes. Small Ruminant Research, 120(1), 1–5. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.2014.03.008