Early weaning and other methods of intensive lamb production

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Early weaning onto pasture, separate grazing for ewes and lambs on pasture, and weaned and nonweaned lambs in a drylot were compared with control groups of ewes and lambs grazed together at Blacksburg and Glade Spring in 1960 and 1961.

Data were available on 457 lambs for average daily gain and slaughter grade and on 311 lambs for carcass grade and yield. The data were adjusted for the effects of breed of sire, breed of dam, age of dam, sex, and type of birth and rearing.

Comparing the pasture treatments at both Blacksburg and Glade Spring in 1960 and 1961, in a two-way classification, in the analysis of variance there was a highly significant interaction between years and treatments.

There was no significant difference between the high and low roughage ration that was fed to weaned and nonweaned lambs at both stations.

The weaned lambs on the low roughage ration at Blacksburg performed significantly better at the 5 percent level than the pasture groups, for average daily gain. The means were higher for the other three traits, though not significantly so.

At Glade Spring the drylot lambs that were weaned had a significantly higher mean at the 5 per cent level for yield over the control group, and the means were higher for the other three traits.