Effect of restricted suckling time on milk components and sucking behavior of lambs
Abstract. The experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of different suckling systems in non-dairy sheep on the production and components of milk, sucking behavior and lamb growth from day 4 after lambing until the lambs were 4 weeks old. The sixteen ewes with their lambs were used to compare restricted suckling time (R) and free suckling time (F) methods. The F lambs were maintained with mothers and suckled ad libitum during day. The R lambs were removed from their dams and allowed to suckle their dams for 15 min during morning and afternoon period. After two weeks of age, all lambs were encouraged to consume roughage alfa alfa as ad libitum to stimulate their ruminal activity. Daily milk intakes of R lambs were low, while F lambs consumed more milk in 1st and 3rd weeks. Therefore, F lambs gained more weight in these weeks. The R lambs have been shown to result in lower sucking duration and higher frequency as compared to F lambs until 4th week. There were no significant differences between treatments in change of milk protein during study. However, the milk fat concentrations were higher in the F group than in R group until 4th week.