Lactation curve, milk production of Pelibuey ewes and preweaning growth rate of the lambs


Hugo Andrés Rodríguez-Álvarez
José Alfonso Hinojosa-Cuéllar
Roberto González-Garduño
Jaime Gallegos-Sánchez
Moisés Rubio-Rubio
Emilio Manuel Aranda-Ibáñez
Jorge Oliva-Hernández
Glafiro Torres-Hernández


maternal ability, live weight, lamb survival.


Objective: To estimate the lactation curve and milk production of Pelibuey ewes and
the relationship with preweaning growth rate of the lambs.
Design/methodology/approach: Forty five Pelibuey ewes were milked during 70
days in Montecillo, México, in 2018, to estimate daily and total milk production. The
lactation curve was fitted with the incomplete gamma function. In addition, the effects
of type of birth and ewe weight at milking on milk production were analyzed, and
correlations were calculated between ewe milk production and growth rate of the
lambs, per week and for the entire lactation

Results: A “typical” lactation curve was found, average ewe milk production for the
entire lactation, weighted for the number of lambs suckling, was 131±8 L, with
444±24 g d -1 . Ewe weight at milking had an effect (p<0.01) on milk production.
Positive correlations were found (p<0.05) between ewe milk production and
preweaning growth rate of the lambs.
Limitations on study/implications: There is a strong dependency of the lambs for
the milk production of the Pelibuey ewe, a factor of great relevance so that lambs can
gain body weight and survive during lactation.
Findings/conclusions: Pelibuey ewes produce less milk than dairy ewes. Therefore,
lambs should be weaned at a maximum of 10 weeks of lactation.

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