Veterinary Sciences, Vol. 10, Pages 368: Effect of Nutritional Flushing Using Long-Term Energy and Protein Supplementation on Growth Performance and Reproductive Parameters of Doyogena Ewes in Ethiopia

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Veterinary Sciences, Vol. 10, Pages 368: Effect of Nutritional Flushing Using Long-Term Energy and Protein Supplementation on Growth Performance and Reproductive Parameters of Doyogena Ewes in Ethiopia

Veterinary Sciences doi: 10.3390/vetsci10060368

Authors:
Asfaw Tesfaye
Bimrew Asmare
Tesfaye Abiso
Jane Wamatu

The objective of the study was to establish the effect of appropriate supplementation days (days -21 to +7) using four isonitrogenous (14.7% CP) diets balanced to provide low (Lo-ME) or high (Hi-ME) metabolizable energy on the body condition score (BCS), body weight (BW) change, and reproductive performances of sheep. Thirty-five Doyogena ewes (27.71 ± 2.87 kg, 2–5 years of age, BCS of 2.0–2.5) grazing on natural pasture were randomly assigned to supplementary treatments consisting of combinations of enset leaf (EL) and commercial concentrate (CC): T0 (control), T1 (250 g EL + 500 g CC: Lo-ME), T2 (400 g EL + 500 g CC; Hi-ME), T3 (500 g EL + 400 g CC; Hi-ME), and T4 (500 g EL + 250 g CC; Lo-ME). The estrous cycle was synchronized with one intramuscular injection, 5 mg PGF2α, prior to artificial insemination. The dry matter (DM) from the pasture provided 1.10–1.46 kg/day, which corresponds to the DM requirements of the ewes until late gestation. However, the pasture provided a protein content of 9.52%, which was insufficient for breeding, mid-gestation, and gestation, requiring minimums of 16.1%, 13.1%, and 14.8%, respectively. The pasture could only provide enough energy for breeding ewes with a BW of up to 30 kg. The energy provided by pasture was insufficient for ewes weighing > 30 kg at mid-gestation and gestation, providing 6.9–9.2 MJ/day, below the requirement of 11.92–16.32 MJ/day required for mid-gestation and gestation. The energy was not sufficient for large ewes weighing > 40 kg. Supplementary diets T1–T4 provided DM in the range of 1.7–2.29 kg/day. This was sufficient for AI, mid-gestation, and gestation phases. Dietary supplements increased (p < 0.01) BW during breeding and mid-gestation. During lambing, T2 and T3 increased BW (p < 0.05) compared to T4 and T1. T4 had a similar effect (p > 0.05) on BW during lambing. T1, T2, and T3 significantly increased BCS (p < 0.05). T2 and T3 increased (p < 0.05) BCS at mid-gestation, but only T2 significantly increased BCD (p < 0.05) during lambing. All dietary supplements resulted in a shorter (p < 0.05) time to the resumption of estrous and the length of estrous (p < 0.05). T1, T2, and T3 resulted in a stronger estrous response (p < 0.05). Dietary supplements enhanced (p < 0.05) the conception rate and fecundity rate. The conception rate was highest in T2 and T3 at 85.7% and 83.3%, respectively. T2 had the highest fecundity rate at 151.7% (p < 0.05). Dietary supplementation increased the rate of lambing (LR), litter size (LS), and weight of lambs at birth (LBW). The LR for treatments T2, T3, and T4 was 100% versus 66.7% in the control. T1 and T2 significantly increased (p < 0.05) LS, but T4 had a similar LS to the control. Dietary supplements T1, T3, and T4 tended to increase (p < 0.05) LBW, but T2 increased LBW significantly (p < 0.05). Supplementation (T2, T3) with 400 g enset + 500 g CC and 500 g enset + 400 g CC are promising feed supplements to increase the reproductive capacities of Doyogena ewes in Ethiopia. Energy is as important to ewe flushing as protein.

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