Single and twin lamb growth rates, herbage mass and quality were monitored 3-5 times from birth to weaning on 6 farms in the southern North Island. Lambs (n = 50-80/farm) were tagged and weighed at birth, and ewes (n = 20-50/farm) grazing with the monitored lambs were tagged and weighed from docking. The average live weight gain (LWG) from birth to weaning was 273 g/d (229-311) and 220 g/d (152-279) for single and twin lambs respectively (P<0.001) and remained relatively static over the lactation period. Mean herbage energy concentration averaged 10.5 MJME/kg DM during the first two months of lactation but had declined to 8.9 by weaning (P<0.001). In conclusion, twin lamb growth rates on hill country are considerably lower than those of single lambs.

AJ, Litherland, and MG Lambert

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 60, Hamilton, 55-57, 2000
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