Effect of weaning system and type of milk flow on milk production of crossbred ewes improved Valachian and Tsigai with Lacaune
Keywords:ewe, weaning system, milk flow curve
Improved Valachian (IV x LC; n = 41) and Tsigai (TS x LC; n = 44) crossbred ewes with Lacaune were used to study the effects of three weaning systems on milk production. Prior to parturition, ewes were assigned to one of the following three treatments for the first 53 day of lactation: 1) ewes weaned from their lambs at 24 h postpartum and afterwards machine milked twice daily (MTD), 2) ewes, beginning 24 h postpartum, kept during the daytime with their lambs and allowed them to suckle for 12 h, nights separated from their lambs for 12 h and machine milked once daily in the morning (MIX), and 3) ewes exclusively suckled by their lambs (ES). After the treatment period, lambs were weaned from MIX and ES ewes, and all three groups were machine milked twice daily. Furthermore, ewes were evaluated according to number of live-born and weaned lambs (with one (n = 35) or with two lambs (n = 50)). The measurements of milk yield and milk flow were performed on 110 ±5 day of lactation by the equipment for graduated electronic recording of the milk level in a jar in one-second intervals. No significant differences were observed in the measured values (total milk yield, machine milk yield, latency time, milking time, machine stripping, milk flow rate, and machine milk yield in 30 and 60 s) among weaning treatments and between ewes with one or two lambs and evaluated breeds too. The highest occurrence of one peak milk flow (milk flow without milk ejection) was found out in MTD ewes (50%) compared to MIX (19%) and ES (17%). In conclusion, the different systems of weaning did not influence the milk yield and milk flow parameters in the mid-lactation.
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