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No effect of supplementation type

Ewes suffer a temporary reduction in immunity to parasites around the time of lambing. It is called the periparturient egg rise. The increase in fecal egg counts can lead to a greater number of larvae on pasture, consequently exposing lambs to a greater level of infection. Adequate supplementation during late gestation and lactation has been shown to reduce the impact of the periparturient egg rise.

Virginia State University researchers evaluated the effect of soy hull supplementation on parasite parameters in hair sheep ewes. A corn-soybean meal diet served as the control diet. Thirty-six pregnant ewes were fed either the corn-soy diet (CS) or soy hulls (SH) while grazing predominantly fescue pastures. Ewes were supplemented at 0.75% of their body weight during late gestation and 1.5% of their body weight during lactation. Ewes lambed on pasture and lambs were weaned at approximately 63 days of age. Lambs had access to the supplement provided to their dams.

Supplement type had no effect on ewe body condition. Supplement type influenced PCV at weaning only, with ewes supplemented with CS having a greater PCV than those supplemented with SH. PCV was similar between treatments before and after lambing. Ewe fecal egg count (FEC) was similar between CS and SH supplemented ewes before lambing and at weaning; however, after lambing CS ewes tended to have reduced FEC compared with SH supplemented ewes. At weaning, lamb FEC was not influenced by type of supplement.

Data indicate that substituting soy hulls for a more traditional corn-based supplement in landrace hair sheep ewes managed in a pasture-based system had little influence on gastrointestinal parasites indicators.

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