Submitted to: Sheep and Goat Research Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/31/2002
Publication Date: 5/1/2002
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Either 80% crude protein cooked molasses blocks or a 25% crude protein urea/wheat mid pelleted supplement seems suitable for ewes grazing dormant rangeland pastures.
Technical Abstract: Providing supplemental protein for ewes grazing dormant rangeland pastures is a common practice. The form of the protein supplement may affect feed intake and animal performance. Thus, an experiment was conducted to determine whether supplement form affected ewe body weight, body condition score, wool characteristics, and lambing percentage. Midgestation range ewes (2 to 6 yr of age) were assigned to two treatments: 1) 30-day ad libitum access to 80% crude protein cooked molasses blocks (n = 350) or 2) 25% crude protein urea/wheat mid pelleted supplement at the rate of 114g/ewe/day for 30 days (n = 348). All ewes received a basal diet of barley straw, which was 0.9% crude protein, 76% neutral-detergent fiber, and 54% acid-detergent fiber. Ewes were weighed and body condition scored at the beginning and end of the supplementation period. After the supplementation period, ewes were managed as a single flock. At shearing, fleece weights were recorded, and wool yield and fiber diameter were measured. Form of the protein supplement did not affect body condition score, although ewes offered the 25% crude protein supplement gained (P < 0.001) weight. Supplement form did not affect grease fleece weight, clean wool fiber percentage, fiber diameter, or lambing percentage. In conclusion, either protein supplement used in this experiment seems suitable for ewes grazing dormant rangeland pastures.