Authors: HALİL AKÇAPINAR, NECMETTİN ÜNAL, FATİH ATASOY
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of early age mating on reproductive traits and survival rate and lamb growth of Bafra sheep. The animals used in the study were divided into two groups (Group I and Group II) according to age of animals. The animals in Group I, 344 ewe lambs, were about 10 months of age, while the animals in Group II, 174 yearlings, were about 18 months of age. The same feeding and management conditions were practised for both groups during mating season and pregnancy and lactation periods. The pre-mating live weights were 43.53 and 50.31 kg (P < 0.001) for Group I and Group II, respectively. The results for reproductive traits were 85.8% and 91.4% for birth rates, and 1.54 and 1.67 for litter size for Group I and Group II, respectively. The survival rates of the lambs from Group I and Group II at weaning (90 days) were 95.4% and 95.1%, respectively. The least squares means for the lambs in the groups were 3.5 and 3.9 kg for birth weight, 18.3 and 21.2 kg for weaning weight and 26.1 and 31.1 kg for 180 days weights (P < 0.001), respectively. The study concluded that early age mating in Bafra sheep negatively affected lamb production and growth of lambs while it did not negatively affect birth rates or litter size of sheep, or survival rates of lambs.
Keywords: Sheep, early age mating, fertility, survival rate, growth
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