Tag: "sheep"

  • The birth sex ratio of a commercial flock of Suffolk cross sheep, Ovis aries, was studied over nine consecutive lambing seasons. In all data from 2704 lambs were recorded and analysed. The overall (1985–1993) birth sex ratio was 49.96% male lambs. Ewes with single lambs produced significantly more males (53.04%) than ewes with triplets (45.54% male). A significant positive correlation was found between the flock age and the birth sex ratio (1985–1992). As the flock aged the birth sex ratio changed from female biased to male biased, remained male biased for a number of years, and then became female biased again. This pattern is evident first in single, then in twin and later in triplet births. Among like sex twins (males and females) (1985–1993) more males (53.88%) were born in the first half and more females (45.57% males) in the second half of the lambing season. The difference between the two halves is significant. more »
  • We aimed to determine whether the concentration of minerals and trace constituents in blood of Merino sheep and Huacaya alpacas grazing the same pasture differed with species and time of sampling. Blood samples and pasture samples were collected at frequent intervals over a period of 2 years for mineral and trace-nutrient assay. The concentration of the minerals and trace nutrients in the grazed pasture usually met the dietary needs of sheep at maintenance, apart from potassium, sulfur, cobalt and Vitamin E in occasional samples. Restricted maximum likelihood mixed model analysis indicated a significant (P < 0.001) species by month by year interaction for all blood constituents assayed, a significant (P < 0.05) species by coat shade interaction for plasma Vitamin D, E and B12 and a significant (P < 0.001) species by month by Vitamin D interaction for plasma phosphorus concentrations. In general, plasma calcium concentrations were greater in sheep than in alpacas but plasma magnesium concentrations were greater in alpacas than in sheep. There was no consistent difference between the two species in plasma phosphorus concentrations although low values were recorded in individual sheep and alpacas. Plasma Vitamin D concentrations were more responsive to increasing hours of sunlight in alpacas than they were in sheep. Sheep had consistently higher concentrations of plasma copper, zinc and Vitamin B12 and higher concentrations of blood selenium but lower concentrations of plasma selenium and Vitamin A, than did alpacas. No consistent difference was observed between the two species in plasma Vitamin E concentrations. more »