Date of Graduation

12-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Animal Science (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Animal Science

Advisor

James D. Caldwell

Committee Member

Bruce C. Shanks

Second Committee Member

David L. Kreider

Third Committee Member

Michael L. Looper

Abstract

The objectives of this research were to determine the effects of different management practices on Katahdin hair sheep performance. For experiment 1, over 2 yr, 5, 0.4-ha pastures were allocated randomly to 1 of 2 grazing treatments: 1) Continuous; or 2) 4-cell rotation. Fifty yearling Katahdin ewes (53 ± 0.7 kg initial BW; 3.3 ± 0.09 initial BCS) were stratified by BW and BCS and allocated randomly to pastures in early May. Grazing d, basal cover, forage quantity or quality did not differ across treatments; however, sampling date effects were detected for forage quantity and quality. Beginning and end of breeding and final BW and FAMACHA© scores, ADG, total gain, end breeding and final BCS, number of lambs/ewe exposed, and lamb birth wt did not differ across treatments. Beginning of breeding BCS tended to be greater and lambing rates and frequency of multiple births were greater from continuous compared with 4-cell rotation. In experiment 2, 93 lambs (26 ± 0.5 kg initial BW; 96 d of age) were stratified by litter, BW, sex, and age of dam and were allocated randomly to 1 of 4 treatments 1) Fenceline AM; 2) Fenceline PM; 3) Traditional AM; and 4) Traditional PM for a 14-d weaning period. Behavior was observed at 12, 24, 48, and 72 h post-weaning. Weaning weight, 14-d post-weaning weight, ADG, and total gain did not differ . Vocalizing tended to be greater from fenceline compared with traditional; however, walking rapidly, running, or lying down did not differ . A time effect was detected for vocalizing and lying down. A treatment × time interaction tendency was observed for standing. Utilizing rotational grazing with Katahdin ewes may increase lambing rates and frequency of multiples births; however, implementing alternative weaning strategies using Katahdin lambs may not increase performance and may negatively affect behavior.

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