Effect of supplementation of unprotected or protected arginine to prolific ewes on maternal amino acids profile, lamb survival at birth, and pre- And post-weaning lamb growth

Elisha Gootwine, Alexander Rosov, Tamir Alon, Claire Stenhouse, Katherine M. Halloran, Guoyao Wu, Fuller W. Bazer

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6 Scopus citations


This research determined the effects of dietary supplementation with rumen-protected arginine (Pro-Arg) on metabolites and amino acids in maternal plasma and lamb survival rate at birth (LSRAB) in prolific Afec-Assaf ewes. The hypothesis was that Pro-Arg, the precursor for nitric oxide and polyamines, would increase placental development and vascularity, uteroplacental blood flow, and nutrient transport and reduce oxidative stress to increase LSRAB. Ewes were fed either their basal diet, basal diet with Pro-Arg, or basal diet with unprotected arginine (Unp-Arg; 18 g/head/d). The supplemental arginine was about 1% of the dry matter intake from day 40 or 60 of gestation until parturition. Ninety-two of 98 ewes produced live lambs. Ewes fed Pro-Arg had greater (P = 0.002) concentrations of arginine and other amino acids in plasma, whereas Unp-Arg did not affect concentrations of arginine, but decreased (P < 0.05) concentrations of some amino acids. There was no effect of treatments on gestation length (144 ± 2 d), prolificacy (2.65 lambs born per ewe), LSRAB (0.80), body weight (88.8 ± 10.8 kg), and body condition score (2.8 ± 0.6) of ewes, or birth weight and crown-rump length of lambs. The GI (BW/CRL1.5) was affected by sex of lamb (P = 0.008), parity of ewe (P = 0.002), litter size (P = 0.0001), and lamb status (P = 0.003). Of 229 lambs born, 32 were dead and 16 died before 5 mo of age, leaving 181 lambs with records on weights at birth and 5 mo of age. Interestingly, lambs born to ewes fed the Unp-Arg and Pro-Arg weighed 3.6 kg less at postnatal day 150 than lambs from control ewes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberskaa284
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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