Date of Award:

1983

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences

Advisor/Chair:

John E. Butcher

Abstract

Thirty-six mature purebred cheviot ewes and 36 polypaysired wether lambs were used in two separate experiments to determine the usefulness of an electronic feeding door as contrasted with traditional feeding situations. The sheep were stratified by weight into three management categories; group housing and feeding (G+G), individual housing and feeding (1+1), or group housing and individual feeding (G+1) using an electronic feeding door. The weight stratification formed a light and a heavy weight class resulting in a 3x2 factorial design. Two different training procedures were used to arrive at a generalized 14-day training sequence that does not require physical handling of the sheep. No differences were observed in learning behavior with older ewes or with sufficiently large lambs.

During a 56 day immediate pre-slaughter feeding period for the lambs, average daily gain was .23 kg, average daily feed consumption was 2.12 kg, feed efficiency was 9.08, carcass dressing percent was 43.6, yield grade was 3.3, and all but three lambs graded USDA Choice. Management category had no significant effect on these performance measures, with the exception that (G+1) lambs consumed more (P<.05) feed (2.20 kg) than (1+1) lambs (2.05 kg). However, this consumption difference was not correlated to weight gain or feed efficiency.

Weight class (light vs. heavy) had no effect on the changes that occurred during the trial although significant differences existed in regards to the magnitude of the actual body weights and condition scores. Heavy weight class lambs remained consistently heavier than light lambs throughout the trial.

A significant effect of week was observed over the last eight weeks on both weight gain and feed consumption. Shearing during week one and a change in caretaker during weeks four and five were possible explanations for the observed differences due to time.

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