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The response of Merino wethers to feedlotting and subsequent sea transport

By A. N. Bailey, J. A. Fortune

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During an 8-day assembly phase in a feedlot, sheep (n = 1500) given a shipping pellet (SP) consisting mainly of cereal straw and barley grain gained about 1 kg liveweight, while those on a lupin pellet (LP) of lupin hulls and kernels lost 1 kg. Farm source of sheep had a significant effect on weight changes that was independent of diet. By the end of the feedlot phase, average daily consumption of pellets per head was about 1 kg. This declined to about 0.5 kg during the first few days of the sea transport, but recovered to 1 kg by day 6 of the 13-day voyage. This loss in appetite contributed strongly to the average weight loss of about 1.6 kg observed for all sheep during the voyage. Differences between LP and SP diets on the sheep were small in terms of further weight change. Sheep on the upper tiers of the ship consistently ate less than those on the lower tiers, despite similar treatment procedures and microclimate. Mortality during the voyage was 1.3% (21 animals), mostly as a result of starvation. The mean weight of animals that died was 42.5 kg, a weight loss of >13 kg. 11 of the 21 sheep came from a single farm source.

Date 1992
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 35
Issue 2
Pages 167-180
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address School of Agriculture (Animal Science), The University of Western Australia, Nedlands, W.A. 6009, Australia.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Adaptation
  2. Animal diseases
  3. Animal husbandry
  4. Animal nutrition
  5. Animal rights
  6. Animal transport
  7. Animal welfare
  8. Appetite
  9. Body weight
  10. Cereals
  11. Diets
  12. Feeding
  13. Feed intake
  14. Feedlots
  15. Food intake
  16. Grains
  17. Grasses
  18. Mammals
  19. Meat animals
  20. peer-reviewed
  21. Plants
  22. Sheep
  23. Straw
  24. Stress
  25. transportation
  1. peer-reviewed