Since maternal nutrition during pregnancy is a major environmental influence on fetal development with consequent effects on post-natal performance, Irish researchers hypothesized that the level of intake of digestible undegraded protein (DUP) by the dam in late pregnancy would impact on the effectiveness of the immune response by offspring to gastrointestinal nematode infection.
Eighty-five twin/triplet-bearing ewes, which were indoors from mid-pregnancy, were randomly assigned to 4 treatment groups for the final 6 weeks of pregnancy. Treatments were silage plus one of two concentrates (differing in DUP concentration) offered at one of two feed levels. All ewes nursed two lambs when put out to pasture as one flock in a five paddock rotational grazing system. Data were collected between 10 weeks of age and slaughter (at 29 weeks). Twelve lambs from each treatment were slaughtered to assess worm burdens.
Dietary regime (DUP concentration or level of concentrate) had no effect on lamb performance, fecal egg counts, worm burdens. or immune response of lambs naturally infected pasture.
Source: Veterinary Parasitology March 2017