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Influences of the number of fetuses and levels of CP and ME in gestation and lactation supplements on performance of Spanish does and kids during suckling and post-weaning

D. S. Ivey, F. N. Owens, T. Sahlu, T. H. Th, L. J. Dawson, G. A. Campbell, and A. L. Goetsch

Small Ruminant Research 35:123-132. 2000.

Pregnancy and lactation appear to influence mohair growth via competition for nutrients between skin follicles and other tissues. Conversely, based on research with Australian feral goats, effects on pregnancy and lactation on cashmere fiber growth are due to physiological changes associated with pregnancy and lactation rather than via nutrient competition, which impact times of cashmere cessation and initiation in the growth cycle. Effects of the nutritional plane of does in the last one-third of gestation and of kids during suckling also have not been extensively studied. Objectives of this research were to determine effects of supplement levels of metabolizable energy and crude protein for US Spanish does, from a herd selected for cashmere fiber production, in gestation and lactation on performance of does and kids during suckling and post-weaning. Forty-eight mature US SPanish does (40 kg) were used in the experiment. At 60 days of gestation, does with single or twin fetuses consumed mature bermudagrass hay ad libitum and 1% body weight (dry matter basis) of supplements with 18.6 or 28.5% crude protein) and 2.2 or 2.8 Mcal/kg metabolizable energy. The high energy-high protein supplement was offered at 1.5% body weight (dry matter basis) for 15 days after birth, and does received the same supplement treatments as in gestation thereafter until weaning at 50 days after parturition. For a 50-day post-weaning period, kids consumed ad libitum the high energy-low protein supplement. With a moderate plane of nutrition during gestation elicited by ad libitum consumption of low-quality grass hay and a relatively high level of supplemental concentrate, the number of fetuses did not affect cashmere weight of US Spanish does from a herd selected for cashmere fiber production, with shearing in February at 100 days of gestation. Different supplement metabolizable energy and crude protein levels during gestation and lactation periods did not influence birth weight of single or twin kids. Kid body weight and cashmere weight after 50-day suckling and post-weaning periods were affected by an interaction between the number of fetuses and level of metabolizable energy in supplements given to does in gestation and lactation, suggesting possible impact of nutrient demand as influenced by number of fetuses on doe responses to different supplements in milk production and consequent kid body weight. However, because of the limited number of observations in this experiment, these findings warrant further research.


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