1st Page



This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 88 No. 11, p. 3645-3656
    Received: Nov 13, 2009
    Accepted: June 18, 2010
    Published: December 4, 2014

    4 Corresponding author(s):


Ovine offspring growth and diet digestibility are influenced by maternal selenium supplementation and nutritional intake during pregnancy despite a common postnatal diet1

  1. T. L. Neville*,
  2. J. S. Caton*,
  3. C. J. Hammer*,
  4. J. J. Reed*22,
  5. J. S. Luther*33,
  6. J. B. Taylor,
  7. D. A. Redmer*,
  8. L. P. Reynolds* and
  9. K. A. Vonnahme 4
  1. Department of Animal Sciences, Center for Nutrition and Pregnancy, North Dakota State University, Fargo 58108; and
    USDA-ARS, US Sheep Experiment Station, Dubois, ID 83423



Lambs born from feed-restricted or overfed ewes can be lighter at birth, whereas maternal Se supplementation can increase fetal size near term. We hypothesized that birth weight would be inversely related to feed efficiency and growth rates during postnatal development. To examine the effects of maternal dietary Se and nutrient restriction or excess on postnatal lamb growth, diet digestibility, and N retention, 82 ewe lambs (52.2 ± 0.8 kg) were allotted randomly to 1 of 6 treatments in a 2 × 3 factorial arrangement. Factors were dietary Se [adequate Se (9.5 μg/kg of BW; ASe) vs. high Se (Se-enriched yeast; 81.8 μg/kg of BW; HSe)] and maternal nutritional intake [60% (restricted, RES), 100% (control, CON), or 140% (high, HI) of NRC requirements]. Selenium treatments began at breeding. Nutritional treatments began on d 50 of gestation. Lambs were immediately removed from their dams at parturition, provided artificial colostrum, and fed milk replacer until weaning. After weaning, lambs were maintained using common management and on common diets until necropsy at 180 d. Male and female lambs from RES-fed ewes were lighter (P ≤ 0.03) at birth than lambs from CON-fed ewes, with lambs from HI-fed ewes being intermediate. Although maternal nutritional intake influenced (P < 0.06) BW gain before weaning on d 57, both maternal nutritional intake and sex of offspring influenced (P ≤ 0.09) BW gain from d 57 to 180. Although maternal nutritional intake did not influence (P ≥ 0.35) female lamb BW gain, male lambs from RES-fed ewes were lighter (P ≤ 0.09) than those from CON-fed ewes until d 162. By d 180, male lambs from RES- and HI-fed ewes were lighter (P ≤ 0.09) than those from CON-fed ewes. In a subset of lambs used in a feed efficiency study, namely, those born to ASe ewes, HI maternal nutritional intake decreased (P ≤ 0.09) ADG and G:F compared with lambs born to RES- and CON-fed ewes, which did not differ (P ≥ 0.60). Conversely, when lambs were born to HSe ewes, HI maternal nutritional intake increased (P ≤ 0.01) ADG and G:F compared with CON, with RES being intermediate. Moreover, lambs born to ASe-HI ewes had decreased (P < 0.01) ADG and G:F compared with lambs born to HSe-HI ewes. Furthermore, male lambs had a greater (P < 0.01) G:F than female lambs. Maternal diet did not affect (P ≥ 0.11) N retention in male lambs. These data indicate that maternal nutrition during gestation and sex of the offspring alter postnatal growth and efficiency of growth in offspring despite similar postnatal management.

  Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.

Copyright © 2010. American Society of Animal Science