Milk replacer restriction during early life impairs the live body weight and progesterone patterns of ewe lambs during the replacement period

Erminio Trevisi, Luigi Lucini, Carlo Valdes, A. Santos, F. J. Giráldez, C. Valdés, J. Frutos, S. Andrés

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9 Citazioni (Scopus)


Nutritional programming caused by feed restriction during the early life may counteract the profitability of the dairy sheep farm. However, most studies have been focused exclusively on the prenatal period, and scarce information regarding the effect of milk replacer (MR) restriction on feed efficiency [residual feed intake (RFI)] and progesterone patterns of replacement ewe lambs is available. Therefore, in the present study 40 Assaf female newborn lambs were penned individually and assigned randomly to 1 of 2 treatment groups (n = 20 per treatment). The first group of lambs was fed MR ad libitum (ADLB), whereas the second one (restricted, RES) only received approximately 62.5% of the MR intake measured in the ADLB group. All the lambs were weighed twice a week until they were 35 d old. Then 8 lambs from each group were killed and a morphological study of the gut was performed. Moreover, a piece of liver was cut to measure fat content and oxidative status. The rest of the ewe lambs (24) were weaned and offered a total mixed ration ad libitum to calculate the RFI during the replacement phase. Plasma samples were collected when ewe lambs were 8 mo old to perform a nontargeted metabolomic analysis on a hybrid quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometer coupled to an ultra-high-performance liquid chromatographic system. Progesterone was also measured weekly on serum samples by sequential competitive immunoassay until the end of the experiment (9.5 mo old). The results observed indicate that moderated MR restriction promoted differences in the morphology of the gut of the 35-d-old lambs, but not in the apparent digestibility or feed efficiency traits (RFI) during the replacement phase. However, there was a trend toward reduced live body weight of the RES ewe lambs when they were 9.5 mo old. Moreover, progesterone patterns revealed that only 1 RES versus 4 ADLB ewe lambs had ovulated for the first time at the end of the experiment. This evidence suggests the existence of long-term effects caused by early feed restriction with negative consequences on live body weight and reproductive traits of replacement ewe lambs.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)8021-8031
Numero di pagine11
RivistaJournal of Dairy Science
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2018


  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Food Science
  • Genetics
  • feed efficiency
  • metabolome
  • nutritional programming
  • puberty

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