Reproductive performance and mortality rate in Menz and Horro sheep following controlled breeding in Ethiopia
Department of Animal Sciences, Alemaya University, P.O. Box 126, Alemaya, Ethiopia; Department of Animal Sciences, Animal Breeding and Genetics Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 338, AH Wageningen, Netherlands
The reproductive and lamb mortality data (n = 4890) of Horro and Menz ewes following controlled breeding in Ethiopia were analyzed. Sheep were treated with flugestone acetate (FGA) intravaginal sponges during the wet and dry seasons to compare the reproductive performance of the two indigenous Ethiopian highland sheep breeds. There was a significant (P < 0.001) difference in the fertility rate (conception rate) (79% versus 70%), weaning rate (92% versus 78%) and lamb mortality rate (13% versus 27%) for the Menz and Horro breeds, respectively. The difference in lambing rate (lambs born/ewes mated) for the Menz and Horro ewes was also significant (P < 0.01) (81% versus 76%), respectively. There was no significant difference in fecundity between the two breeds. It is concluded that the Menz ewes have more acceptable reproductive performance than Horro ewes following controlled breeding. Additionally, Menz lambs have recorded a higher survival rate than the Horro lambs under the same environmental conditions. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.