Winter-feeding systems for gestating sheep II. Effects on feedlot performance, glucose tolerance, and carcass composition of lamb progeny

A. E. Radunz, F. L. Fluharty, I. Susin, T. L. Felix, H. N. Zerby, S. C. Loerch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Mature pregnant crossbred ewes (n = 90) were used in a randomized complete block design experiment and were assigned to 1 of 3 winter-feeding systems differing in primary feed source: haylage (HL), limit-fed corn (CN), or limit-fed dried distillers grains (DDGS). Effects of these winter-feeding strategies on postweaning progeny performance were determined. Lamb progeny (n = 96) were weaned at 61 ± 4 d of age and fed a common high-concentrate diet. Lambs were assigned to feedlot pen (n = 18) based on dam mid-gestation pen. Growth rate, DMI, and ADG were determined for the first 40 d of the finishing period. At 96 ± 4 d of age, 1 wether lamb was randomly selected from each pen (n = 18) for a glucose tolerance test. The experiment was terminated, and lambs were slaughtered individually when they were determined to have achieved 0.6-cm 12th-rib fat thickness. After a 24-h chill, carcass data were collected and a 2.54- cm chop was removed from each lamb from the LM posterior to the 12th rib for ether extract analysis. Additional carcass measurements of bone, muscle, and fat from the shoulder, rack, loin, and leg were collected on 35 carcasses. At weaning, lamb BW was not different among treatments, whereas final BW tended to be greater (P = 0.09) for lambs from ewes fed DDGS and CN during gestation than from those fed HL. Overall lamb growth rate from birth to slaughter was not different among treatments. Lambs from ewes fed DDGS vs. CN or HL tended to have a greater initial insulin response (P = 0.09). Dressing percent was less (P = 0.04) in lambs from ewes fed DDGS, but no difference (P = 0.16) was detected in HCW among treatments. As expected, 12th rib fat thickness was similar among treatments, whereas LM area was largest to smallest (P = 0.05) in lambs from ewes fed CN, HL, and DDGS, respectively. Proportion of internal fat tended to be greatest to smallest (P = 0.06) in lambs from ewes fed DDGS, CN, and HL, respectively. Calculated boneless trimmed retail cuts percentage was less (P = 0.04) in lambs from ewes fed DDGS than CN or HL. Loin muscle weight as a percentage of wholesale cut tended (P = 0.10) to be greater in lambs from ewes fed CN and HL than DDGS, whereas other muscle, bone, and fat weights and proportions were similar (P > 0.24) among treatments. Prepartum diet during mid to late gestation of ewes altered postnatal fat and muscle deposition and may be associated with alterations in insulin sensitivity of progeny.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)478-488
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Winter-feeding systems for gestating sheep II. Effects on feedlot performance, glucose tolerance, and carcass composition of lamb progeny'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this