Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Lyle G. McNeal


Lyle G. McNeal


Donald Sisson


Randy Wiedmeier


Wallace Taylor


Robert Lamb


Western Whiteface and Navajo-Churro Ewes, two types of sheep present in the Intermountain West, were compared for their milk production ability. Amount of milk produced per individual and the group milk composition were analyzed for butterfat, lactose, somatic cell count, protein, calcium, and phosphorous.

Ewes were fed ad libitum alfalfa hay and had access to free-choice grain while in the milking parlor. Lambs were weaned at 35 d of age and removed to another holding area and placed on creep feed . Ewes were milked for 90 d following the weaning of the lambs.

Western Whiteface ewes had a much higher milk production level than the Navajo- Churro ewes (P < 0.05). Western Whiteface ewes were almost double in their overall level of production versus the Navajo-Churro ewes. Half of the Western Whiteface ewes completed the 90-d lactation period, producing an average of . 83 kg of milk per day. Navajo-Churro ewes did not complete the full lactation period, with I 000/o of them ceasing milk production before completion of the 90-d milking period. The criterion for being considered dry consisted of completing six consecutive milkings while producing 50 ml or less of milk.

Overall production for the two groups of ewes was .83 kg/day of milk for the Western Whiteface ewes and .52 kg/day for the Navajo-Churro. The average number of days in production for the Western Whiteface ewes was 69.5 d and 50 d for the Navajo-Churro. Western Whiteface ewes consistently exhibited higher milk production levels than the Navajo- Churro ewes and they adapted well to the milking barn. Navajo-Churro ewes did not produce an adequate quantity of milk for a dairy setting.