Institute of Mountain Stockbreeding and Agriculture, BG - 5600 Troyan, Bulgaria
ALEKSIEV, Y., 2008. Effect of shearing on feed intake and milk yield in Tsigai ewes. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 14: 87-92
The effect of shearing on voluntary feed consumption, water intake and milk yield was studied in Tsigai sheep kept in natural indoor environment. Sheep were clipped at the beginning of April and fed concentrate and chopped hay offered at lib. Shearing had no effect on feed intake. Average daily dry matter intake was 1779 and 1795 g respectively in unshorn and shorn ewes. Mean daily water intake differed significantly (P<0.001) being higher in unshorn compared to shorn sheep: 4170 and 3147 g respectively. Treatment did not alter the level of milk production and mean daily milk yields during pre- and post-shearing periods were 349 and 353 g respectively. The results suggest that shearing of lactating ewes kept indoor did not have any measurable effect on feed intake and milk yield although in the case of the present study ambient temperatures were often below the critical point throughout the observation period. The increase of water intake after shearing indicate involvement of appropriate adaptive responses directed at preservation of the heat content of the body.
Key words: ewes, lactation, shearing, feed intake, milk yield, water intake