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Milk production from subtropical non-dairy sheep. 1. Ewe performance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 March 2009

A. M. Aboul-Naga
Animal Production Research Institute, Ministry of Agriculture, Dokki, Cairo, Egypt
A. S. El-Shobokshy
Animal Production Research Institute, Ministry of Agriculture, Dokki, Cairo, Egypt
I. F. Marie
Animal Production Research Institute, Ministry of Agriculture, Dokki, Cairo, Egypt
M. A. Moustafa
Animal Production Research Institute, Ministry of Agriculture, Dokki, Cairo, Egypt


Milk yield of 270 Rahmani, Ossimi and Barki subtropical Egyptian ewes rearing single lambs during three successive lambings in 2 years was estimated over 12 weeks of the lactation using a lamb-suckling technique. The ewes received either normal or high level of feeding during late pregnancy and lactation.

Ossimi and Rahmani ewes showed significantly (P < 0·01) higher total milk production than the Barki. Milk yield declined sharply for the Barki ewes after the 6th week of lactation. Breed variation failed to attain statistical significance in the first 4 weeks of lactation. The highly fed ewes produced significantly (P < 0·01) more milk at different stages of lactation than the normally fed ones. High level of feeding, however, is not recommended for subtropical non-dairy ewes as it is not economic. Spring-lambing ewes produced significantly more milk during the first 8 weeks of lactation, while the summer-lambing ewes were more persistent in their milk yield in the last 4 weeks of lactation.

Neither age of ewe nor body weight significantly affected milk yield. Correlation coefficients between milk yield and body weight at lambing are small and range from 0·00 to 0·24.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1981

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