Groups (4) of aged, pregnant red deer hinds (n = 7 or 12) were set-stocked pre-fawning with similar liveweight per ha of either dry ewes or yearling heifers in one of two paddocks equally divided in area (2 replicates). Cattle and sheep were progressively withdrawn from each area independently so that the average pasture height did not fall below 6 cm. The liveweight of the hinds and fawns was recorded and pasture samples taken for botanical and chemical analysis. There was no significant effect of sheep vs. cattle on the liveweight change of hinds or their fawns. All groups of hinds lost condition over lactation even though pasture height was maintained around 6-8 cm. However the liveweight gain of the fawns (from mid January to early March) was close to 350 g/day. Overall, there was no significant difference in composition or quality between the pastures grazed by the two stock combinations. We conclude from this study that under the conditions of this trial, in which the pasture was kept under tight control (6-8 cm) over the whole of lactation, there was no difference in the effect of the co-grazing species (sheep or cattle) on the performance of lactating hinds and their fawns.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 67, Wanaka, 280-284, 2007
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