UDC 636.3.082 / 57.087.01
The main goal of this study was to determine the effect of some important factors affecting the birth and weaning weight variability in lambs. The study was carried out on the basis of the Institute of Animal Husbandry of Steppe Regions named by M. F. Ivanov “Askania-Nova” – the National Scientific Agricultural Center in Sheep Breeding of NAAS.
The object of the study was the influence of genetic and non-genetic factors on the birth and weaning weight of lambs. Data from 2603 ewes was included in the analysis, where 3961 lambs were obtained during the five years of the research.
The reproductive qualities of the Ascanian fine-fleece ewes (AC) were evaluated by their matching with the sires of the following genotypes which are the Ascanian fine-fleece, the Australian merino (AM) and the half-bred rams (1/2AC + 1/2AM). The influence of the year of lambing, the age of ewes, the litter size, the sex of lambs on weight of lambs at birth and weaning was also studied. Data was tested using analysis of variance (ANOVA) with the GLM procedure of Minitab Release 13.1.
The significant effect on the weight of lambs at birth and weaning was established for all factors which were used in the analysis. The significant influence of the ram genotype on the birth weight of lambs was not established.
The population means (µ) were 4.047 ± 0.035 and 26.83 ± 0.38 kg for birth and weaning weight of lambs, respectively. In general, the periods of increase or decrease coincided for the birth/weaning weight of lambs. The birth weight of lambs did not depend on the genotype of the ram. According to the weaning weight of lambs the ewes, which were mated with the AM rams, gave birth to lambs, which were inferior to the population mean by 0.78 kg.
The birth weight of lambs was significantly higher than the population mean among eight years old ewes (101 g), while the youngest ewes, by the contrast, gave birth to lambs which were significantly lower than the population mean (by 155 g). As for the weaning weight of lambs, middle-aged ewes (5-6 years old) gave birth to lambs which significantly exceeded the population mean by 0.85-1.06 kg.
The weight of singles was significantly higher than the population mean at birth (561 g) and at weaning (1.89 kg). The weaning weight was significantly lower by 0.71 kg for ewes lambing twins. The ram lambs significantly exceeded the ewe lambs by 74 g at birth and by 0.66 kg at weaning.
Only for a ram № 519 it is possible to state high prepotency according to the potential of increasing the weight of lambs both at birth and at weaning. In total, for 20 sires, a significantly relationship between their LS-estimates of birth and weaning weight of lambs was not established (r = 0.293; n = 20; p = 0.209).
Keywords: birth and weaning weight of lambs; ram genotype; year of lambing; age of ewes; litter size (type of birth); sex of a lamb; the Ascanian fine-fleece breed.
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