Calving at the beginning or end of winter in nulliparous ewes: effects on maternal behavior and that of their progeny

  • Raquel Pérez Clariget Facultad de Agronomía
  • María Soledad Orcasberro Facultad de Agronomía, Udelar
Keywords: calving performance, calving month, blood metabolites


In nulliparous ewes grazing natural field that gave birth at the beginning or at the end of winter, the metabolic status was compared during advanced gestation, parturition and early postpartum, parturition behavior, lamb mortality, milk production and quality, weight (PV) of the lambs during the first 60 days, the presentation of jealousy of the lambs in their first autumn and the reproductive behavior of the mothers in the following service. 64 nulliparous Corriedale ewes were used; 39 calved at the beginning (Group J) and the remaining 25 at the end of the winter (Group S). Neither the mortality of lambs born by simple calving during the first 7 days of life, nor the behavior at calving, nor the milk production was different between groups. Metabolic status at delivery was better in Group J than in Group S (higher PV, body condition, plasma glucose, cholesterol, and total protein concentration, and lower urea; P <0.05). However, this situation was reversed during the early postpartum period. Milk quality was better in Group J than in Group S (higher protein and fat content; P <0.0001). The LW of lambs at birth (PNAC) was not different, but the global mean was higher in Group S than in Group J (Group S: 9.51 ± 0.21 kg vs Group J: 8.87 ± 0, 21 kg; P = 0.05). No consequences were observed on reproductive behavior in ewes at the second service. Nor was a greater proportion of lambs in heat observed in their first autumn. The results allow us to conclude that advancing the calving month to the beginning of winter increases the metabolic status of the ewe at calving without effects on PNAC, lamb mortality, or calving behavior.


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Author Biographies

Raquel Pérez Clariget, Facultad de Agronomía

Prof. Titular Departamento de Producción Animal y Pasturas

María Soledad Orcasberro, Facultad de Agronomía, Udelar

Asistente, Ing. Agr (MSc) Departamento de Producción Animal y Pasturas


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How to Cite
Pérez Clariget, Raquel, and María Soledad Orcasberro. 2020. “Calving at the Beginning or End of Winter in Nulliparous Ewes: Effects on Maternal Behavior and That of Their Progeny”. Latin American Archives of Animal Production 28 (1-2), 29-38.
Original paper