Special Issue "Sheep Lactation, Nutrition and Reproduction"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Small Ruminants".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Sam Peterson
Website
Guest Editor
School of Agriculture and Environment, Massey University, Private Bag 11222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
Interests: sheep dairy; lactation in sheep; developmental programming; fetal development; mastitis in sheep and beef cattle
Dr. Sue McCoard
Website
Guest Editor
Animal Science, AgResearch Grasslands Research Centre, Private Bag 11008, Palmerston North 4410, New Zealand
Interests: nutritional physiology; developmental programming; fetal and neonatal development and impact on lifetime performance in ruminants (sheep and cattle); dairy sheep; early life nutrition

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There are many sheep-farming systems, from nomadic flocks browsing native plants, rotationally grazed flocks on improved pastures, to sheep housed and fed formulated total-mixed rations. Similarly, there is huge variation in the technology available to, and used by, the farmers. In New Zealand, we have a dichotomy in our perspective on sheep farming; we have 30 million sheep and are major exporters of meat and wool, yet we have a fledgling sheep dairy industry (as do some other countries). Whilst NZ is a world leader in efficiently farming sheep on pasture to produce meat and wool, we have a lot to learn about farming dairy sheep. The guest editors have careers in sheep research, including lactational and nutritional physiology and developmental programming, but only recently have we been able to study dairy sheep. Dairy sheep are naturally highly fecund which creates challenges associated with nutrition and management to support milk production from the ewe, and the cost-effective rearing management of the lamb(s) in a sustainable manner (economically, environmentally, socially and culturally). The composition of ewe’s milk is quite different from that of the cow, offering potential nutritional and marketing advantages, but also challenges associated with processing. Furthermore, since public perceptions of intensive cow dairy-farming systems in some countries is that they are not environmentally sustainable and that animal welfare is not well served, sheep dairy farming may become more common. Thus, our plan for this Special Issue is to highlight research in lactation, nutrition and reproduction in sheep with a strong emphasis toward dairy sheep.

Dr. Sam Peterson
Dr. Sue McCoard
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • sheep lactation
  • sheep dairy
  • sheep reproduction, nutrition of lactating ewes

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Diet with a High Proportion of Rice Alters Profiles and Potential Function of Digesta-Associated Microbiota in the Ileum of Goats
Animals 2020, 10(8), 1261; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081261 - 24 Jul 2020
Abstract
Effects of a high proportion of concentrate in the diet on the ileal microbiota and metabolites in small ruminants are rarely reported. This study was designed to investigate the ileal microbiota and its relationship with host metabolic function in goats and aimed to [...] Read more.
Effects of a high proportion of concentrate in the diet on the ileal microbiota and metabolites in small ruminants are rarely reported. This study was designed to investigate the ileal microbiota and its relationship with host metabolic function in goats and aimed to elucidate the mechanisms involving in the ileal adaptation to a diet containing a high proportion of rice. Sixteen goats were equally divided into two groups and fed a diet with a normal concentrate proportion (NC, 55% concentrate) or a high-concentrate diet (HC, 90% concentrate). Results showed that the HC diet decreased bacterial diversity and elevated the abundance of five genera (Clostridium_sensu_stricto_1, Eubacterium_nodatum_group, Ruminococcus_gauvreauii_group, Eubacterium_coprostanoligenes_group and Ruminococcus 1), but reduced the number of Anaerotruncus. Microbial functional potentials indicated that the HC diet activated the pathways related to metabolism of carbohydrate, glycan, lipid and vitamins, but inhibited the pathways associated with cell motility and signal transduction. The activities of amylase and alkaline phosphatase were greater (p < 0.05) in the intestinal digesta of the HC-fed goats. However, there were no differences in the villus height, crypt depth and the ratio of villus height to crypt depth in the ileum between the two groups. These results indicate that the HC diet alters the bacterial community and pathways related to the metabolism of dietary nutrients and cell motility and signal transduction of bacteria in the ileum of goats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sheep Lactation, Nutrition and Reproduction)
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Open AccessArticle
Milk Production of Lacaune Sheep with Different Degrees of Crossing with Manchega Sheep in a Commercial Flock in Spain
Animals 2020, 10(3), 520; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030520 - 20 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of the grade of crossbreeding (Lacaune x Manchega) and environmental factors on milk production in a commercial flock in Spain. A total of 5769 milk production records of sheep with different degrees [...] Read more.
The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of the grade of crossbreeding (Lacaune x Manchega) and environmental factors on milk production in a commercial flock in Spain. A total of 5769 milk production records of sheep with different degrees of purity of the Lacaune breed crossed with Manchega were used as follows: 100% Lacaune (n = 2960), 7/8 Lacaune (n = 502), 13/16 Lacaune (n = 306), 3/4 (n = 1288), 5/8 Lacaune (n = 441) and 1/2 Lacaune: Manchega (n = 272). Additional available information included the number of parity (1 to 8), litter size (single or multiple), and the season of the year of lambing (spring, summer, autumn and winter). A mixed model was used to evaluate the level of crossbreeding and environmental factors on milk production. The 100% Lacaune sheep presented the highest milk production with respect to the F1 Lacaune x Manchega sheep (p < 0.01), showing that as the degree of gene absorption increases with the Manchega breed, it presents lower milk yield. The 100%, 13/16, and 3/4 Lacaune genotypes had the highest milk yields with respect to the 1/2 Lacaune/Manchega breed (p < 0.001). The Lacaune registered on average 181.1 L in a period adjusted to 160 days of lactation (1.13 L/ day). Likewise, the parity number, litter size, and season of lambing effects showed significant differences (p < 0.01). It was concluded that 13/16 and 3/4 Lacaune/Manchega ewes presented the highest milk yields with respect to the other crosses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sheep Lactation, Nutrition and Reproduction)
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Open AccessArticle
Udder Measurements and Their Relationship with Milk Yield in Pelibuey Ewes
Animals 2020, 10(3), 518; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030518 - 20 Mar 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
The study aimed to evaluate the relationship between udder measurements and milk yield (MY) in dairy Pelibuey ewes. Udder measurements were taken twice a week for eight weeks before (initial) and after (final) milking, including udder depth (UD), udder circumference (UC), udder width [...] Read more.
The study aimed to evaluate the relationship between udder measurements and milk yield (MY) in dairy Pelibuey ewes. Udder measurements were taken twice a week for eight weeks before (initial) and after (final) milking, including udder depth (UD), udder circumference (UC), udder width (UW), teat length (TL) and teat diameter (TD) in 38 multiparous ewes. Additionally, udder volume (UV) and the difference (VDF) between initial UV (UVi) and final (UVf) was calculated as VDF = UVi − UVf. The MY varied from 0.10 kg/d to 1.04 kg/d, with a mean of 0.39 kg/d, ± 0.18 kg/d. Initial UC (UCi) ranged from 25.80 cm to 53.30 cm, and VDF varied from 1 cm3 to 2418 cm3. The TL and TD were not correlated with MY (p > 0.05), while UCi, UVi and VDF were positively correlated with MY (p < 0.0001; r = from 0.66 to 0.74). For the prediction of MY, the obtained equations had an r2 ranging from 0.54 to 0.63. The UCi, UDf, UWi and UWf were included in these models (p < 0.05). It is concluded that there was an acceptable correlation (r = 0.60) between the measurements of the udder, the volume of the udder and the daily milk yield in Pelibuey sheep. When direct measurements of milk production cannot be performed in practice, the measurement of udders and their volume could be a viable alternative to estimate milk yield production as an indirect method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sheep Lactation, Nutrition and Reproduction)
Open AccessArticle
Dietary Pomegranate Pulp: Effect on Ewe Milk Quality during Late Lactation
Animals 2019, 9(5), 283; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9050283 - 27 May 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
Pomegranate pulp, a by-product of the pomegranate juice industry, contains a remarkable quantity of bioactive compounds that can favorably affect ruminant metabolism and milk quality. The present paper investigated the effect of dietary pomegranate pulp on milk yield and quality during late lactation [...] Read more.
Pomegranate pulp, a by-product of the pomegranate juice industry, contains a remarkable quantity of bioactive compounds that can favorably affect ruminant metabolism and milk quality. The present paper investigated the effect of dietary pomegranate pulp on milk yield and quality during late lactation in grazing ewes. Twenty Comisana ewes (150 ± 10 days in milk) were subdivided into control (CTRL) and pomegranate (PP) groups. The CTRL group received a corn-barley based concentrate, while the PP group received a concentrate containing 64.8% pomegranate pulp. Dietary treatment did not affect milk yield. CTRL milk had a greater percentage of β-casein and total casein, while αs1-casein percentage tended to be greater in the PP group. The PP milk showed a lower percentage of 14:0, 16:0, but a greater percentage of vaccenic, rumenic, and α-linolenic acid. Punicic acid was detected only in the PP milk. Total antioxidant capacity (ORAC) was greater in the CTRL milk as compared with the hydrophilic ORAC. Dietary pomegranate pulp increased milk health quality with no detrimental effects on milk yield. Therefore, pomegranate pulp could represent a strategy for improving milk quality and reducing feeding cost during a less profitable phases such as late lactation. Also, dietary pomegranate pulp, as an alternative to traditional feedstuffs, may lower feed-to-food competition in livestock production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sheep Lactation, Nutrition and Reproduction)
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