Livestock Research for Rural Development 31 (1) 2019 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

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The effect of body condition and weight of Ouled Djellal ewes on the growth of the lambs in an accelerated lambing farm

S Smaali and F Boukazoula

Faculty of Exact Sciences and Sciences of Nature and Life, Larbi Tebessi University, Tebessa, Algeria


The effect of the body condition score (BCS) and the weight of Ouled Djellal ewes at lambing on growth of their lambs was studied in 73 lambs born from 24 ewes in a farm subjected to the system of 3 lambings in 2 years, in an extensive mode. The maternal weights had no statistical effect on the lamb weights and their ADG from birth to weaning (90 days); however, the BCS of the ewes at lambing was directly related to lamb growth from birth to 90 days, but not from birth to 30 days.

Key words: ADG, average daily gain, body condition score, BCS, maternal effects

L’effet de l’état corporel et du poids de brebis Ouled Djellal sur la croissance des agneaux dans une ferme à agnelages accélérés


L'effet de la note d'état corporelle (NEC) et du poids de brebis Oulled Djellal à l'agnelage sur la croissance et le gain moyen quotidien (GMQ) a été étudié sur 73 agneaux nés de 24 brebis dans une ferme soumise au taux de 3 agnelages en 2 ans en mode extensif. Les poids maternels n'ont pas eu d'effet significatif sur les poids des agneaux et leur GMQ entre la naissance et le sevrage à 90 jours, mais les NEC des brebis à l'agnelage ont eu un effet significatif sur les performances de croissance des agneaux entre la naissance et 90 jours, et pas entre la naissance et 30 jours.

Mots-clés: effets maternel, gain quotidien moyen, score de l'état corporel


In Algeria, sheep farming represents the most important agricultural speculation. It contributes to 52% of livestock production and represents 35% of the total agricultural production (Benaissa 2001). It is generally conducted according to an extensive breeding system. This system is characterized by a high dependence on natural vegetation, and therefore remains highly influenced by the climatic conditions, based on the use of free forage supply (Harkat and Lafri 2007). In addition to grazing and crop residues, the animals usually receive a supplement of barley and hay.

The breeders' strategy consists in seeking multiple adaptations at the level of food resources as well as at the level of the animal. Consequently, the adjustment between food supply and nutritional needs is ensured by the animal's body reserves. In addition, the reproductive and lactation performance and health status of the animals depends on variations in their body condition, whether in intensive or extensive systems (Petit 1988).

The objective of this research was to study the effects of the body condition score (BCS) and the weight of ewes at lambing on the lamb growth in an accelerated lambing farm in an extensive mode.

Materials and methods

The study involved seventy-three (73) Ouled Djellal lambs born from 24 ewes subjected to the rate of 3 lambing in 2 years, in an extensive mode. In addition to breast milk, they had good quality hay and small amounts of  maize and barley at their disposal.

The weight of the dams at lambing, and weekly live weights of the lambs from birth to weaning at 90 days, were recorded using a livestock scale designed for small ruminants (200±0.5 kg).  The weighing and body assessment (BCS) of the ewes was carried out every month using the technique of Russel et al (1969) with a score of 0 to 5.

The data analyses were performed using IBM SPSS software (version 23.2015 for MAC).

Results and discussion

The mother's weight at birth had no effect  on weights and growth rates of their lambs from birth to 90 days (Table 1).

Table 1. Variation in the weight and average daily gain (ADG) of the lambs according to the
weight and BCS (body condition score) of the ewes at lambing


Weight of ewes

BCS of ewes

35-45 kg

45-55 kg

55-65 kg



Lamb weight, kg

























ADG , g/d













Mean values followed by different letters are different at p<0.05; n, number of births. d, days

The growth rate of the lambs between 0-90 days  was increased  when they were from dams with a BCS higher than 2.5. It is probable that the better growth was due to increased milk production in turn the result of the better body condition of the ewes. Similar relationships were reported by Peart (1970), Gibb and Treacher (1980), Jaime and Purroy (1995) and Chemmam et al (2014).



The results of the experiment described in this paper were presented at the 24th Meeting on Ruminant Research 5-6 December 2018, Paris - Versailles, Quae ed.


Benaissa R 2001 Ministre délégué au développement rural. Rencontre avec les éleveurs de la steppe algérienne. In Deghnouche K. 2011. Etude de certains paramètres zootechniques et du métabolisme énergétique de la brebis dans les régions arides (Biskra). Thèse de doctorat en nutrition. Université Elhejlakhder-Batna. 234p.

Chemmam M, Meftah N and Boudechiche L 2014 Effets de l’avancement de la saison sexuelle sur les performances de reproduction et le poids des agneaux Ouled Djellal au sevrage dans le nord-est de l’Algérie. Recherches sur l'élevage pour le développement rural (LRRD). Volume 26, article n ° 8 (2014).

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Peart J N 1970 The influence of liveweight and body condition on the subsequent milk production of Blackface ewes following a period of undernutrition in early lactation. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge, 75 :459-469

Petit M 1988 Alimentation des vaches allaitantes. In : alimentation des bovins, ovins et caprins. (R Jarrige, ed), INRA Publ. Paris (France).p 195-184.

Received 19 December 2018; Accepted 26 December 2018; Published 1 January 2019

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