The primary objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between parturition duration, localised oedema in lambs (as determined by post mortem findings) and lamb survival. Parturition behaviour was recorded for 131 mixed age Coopworth ewes and their 303 lambs (twins n=180; triplets n=123). Twin lambs and first born triplet lambs that did not survive tothree weeks of age took at least twice as long to be born than lambs that survived (P<0.05). The duration of parturition for lambs that died and had moderate to severe subcutaneous oedema was more than three times longer than for those that had none and minor localised subcutaneous oedema at post mortem examination (P<0.05). Further research is required to understand the factors contributing to prolonged parturition for twins and triplets. This information is needed so that appropriate management techniques and animal breeding programmes can be developed to reduce birthing difficulties (dystocia) and lamb mortality rates.

JM, Everett-Hincks, KG Dodds, and JI Kerslake

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 67, Wanaka, 55-60, 2007
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