Heavier ewe live weights and the trend toward composite genetics has resulted in an increasing proportion of triplet bearing ewes within a flock. On some extensive properties, triplet lambs have much lower survival rates. This work examined the effect on lamb survival and the profitability of shifting scanned triplet ewes to an intensive property for lambing. Scanned triplet bearing ewes on a large extensive property were allocated to two groups; Intensive (150 ewes) and Extensive (770 ewes). Intensive ewes were transported to a smaller downland property prior to lambing and the Extensive ewes remained on the farm and were managed normally. Weaning percentages were higher under intensive management (222% lambs weaned/ewe present at weaning) than under extensive management (171%). The intensive property also had higher lamb weaning weights per ewe (58.2 vs 47.2 kg lamb weaned/ewe scanned). Differences in survival between the properties suggest there is a significant potential to reduce death rate in triplet lambs. Returns on feed consumed were modelled using Farmax® and were 21.1 and 17.1 c/kg dry matter consumed over the trial period on the respective properties. In addition, removal of the triplet bearing ewes from the extensive property freed up resources which could be used to improve the performance of other stock.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 69, Christchurch, 71-74, 2009
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