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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1998 Apr 1;212(7):997-1000.

Effects of dietary vitamin E supplementation during late pregnancy on lamb mortality and ewe productivity.

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  • 1Department of Animal and Range Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman 59717, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the effect of feeding vitamin E to ewes during late pregnancy on lamb mortality and ewe productivity.

DESIGN:

Prospective study.

ANIMALS:

1,302 mature Rambouillet and Targhee ewes.

PROCEDURE:

During a 3-year period, approximately 430 ewes/y were randomly allocated to 2 groups; supplement-group ewes were fed additional vitamin E and control-group ewes were not. Beginning approximately 3 weeks before the first expected lambing date, ewes were fed 2.3 kg (5 lb) of alfalfa-grass hay/d and 0.23 kg (0.5 lb) of barley-based pellets/d with or without supplemental vitamin E. Pellets that were supplemented contained 1,450 mg of DL-alpha-tocopherol acetate/kg (658 mg/lb) of feed and provided an additional 330 IU of vitamin E/ewe/d. Selenium was incorporated into a trace mineral salt and fed free choice to all ewes throughout pregnancy.

RESULTS:

Supplemental vitamin E had no effect on ewe weight, body condition score, fertility, or prolificacy. In ewes that lambed in the early part of the lambing season, vitamin E supplementation significantly reduced lamb mortality, compared with no supplementation (12 vs 17%, respectively). Consequently, supplement-group ewes had significantly greater total body weight of lambs per ewe at the time of weaning, compared with control-group ewes. Differences were not observed between ewe groups in lamb mortality or total body weight of lambs per ewe at the time of weaning when ewes lambed during the late part of the lambing season.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS:

If ewes are fed additional vitamin E3 weeks before parturition, those that lamb in the early part of the lambing season may have low lamb mortality and, thus, higher total body weight of lambs per ewe at the time of weaning.

PMID:
9540871
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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