Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Implications of carbohydrate sources and rate of body weight gain on puberty in ewe lambs in tropical climate conditions

  • 77 Accesses


The objectives were to evaluate the effects of two non-fibrous carbohydrate sources and the rate of body weight gain on puberty status in ewe lambs. Sixty ewe lambs (½ Dorper × ½ Santa Ines) with an initial body weight of 25.1 ± 4.1 kg and 102.8 ± 1.5 days old were distributed in a randomized complete block design with 10 blocks and 3 treatments. The trial lasted 119 days, in which performance was evaluated on days 28, 56, 84, and 119, and puberty status was every week evaluated by progesterone concentration. The treatments were characterized by the inclusion of different carbohydrate sources in the diets in order for ewe lambs to reach different rates of body weight gain: CORN, total diet containing 46% of corn (% DM); PCP, total diet containing 46% of pelleted citrus pulp (% DM); and HAY, total diet containing 80% of coastcross hay (% DM). The CORN- and PCP-based diets were formulated for an average daily gain (ADG) of 0.200 kg/day and a HAY-based diet for an ADG of 0.100 kg/day. There was an interaction between treatments and experimental periods for dry matter intake (DMI) (P < 0.01), in which lambs in the CORN treatment presented DMI similar to PCP in the first and second periods, but lambs from the PCP treatment presented lower DMI than the CORN treatment in subsequent periods. In all periods, the body weight, average daily gain, and feed efficiency of CORN lambs were similar to PCP lambs, but higher than HAY lambs. The age at puberty was not affected by treatments; however, lambs fed with non-fibrous carbohydrate sources reached puberty heavier (P < 0.0001) than lambs from the HAY treatment. Despite the high increase in body weight for lambs fed with non-fibrous carbohydrate sources, it did not affect the age of puberty.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1


  1. Allen, M.S. 1996. Physical constraints on voluntary intake of forage by ruminants. J. Anim. Sci. 74, 3063–3075. https://doi.org/10.2527/1996.74123063x

  2. Allen, M.S., Bradfort, B.J., Oba, M. 2009. Board-invited review: the hepatic oxidation theory of the control of feed intake and its application to ruminants. J. Ani. Sci. 87, 3317–3334. https://doi.org/10.2527/jas.2009-1779.

  3. AOAC. 1990. Official Methods of Analysis of AOAC International, 15th. ed. AOAC International, Arlington, VA.

  4. Ciccioli, N.H., Charles-Edwards, S.L., Floyd, C., Wettemann, R.P., Purvis, H.T., Lusby, K.S., Horn, G.W., Lalman, D.L. 2005. Incidence of puberty in beef heifers fed high-or low-starch diets for different periods before breeding. J Anim Sci, 83, 2653–2662. https://doi.org/10.2527/2005.83112653x

  5. Edwards, S.J., Juengel, J.L., O’Connell, A.R., Johnstone, P.D., Farquhar, P.A., Davis, G.H. 2015. Attainment of puberty by ewes in the first years of live is associated with improved reproductive performance at 2 years of age. Small Ruminant Research, 123, 118–123. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.2014.11.006

  6. Ferraz Jr, M.V.C., Pires, A.V., Santos, M. H., Silva, R.G., Oliveira, G. B., Polizel, D.M., Biehl, M.V., Sartori, R., Nogueira, G.P. 2018. A combination of nutrition and genetics is able to reduce age at puberty in Nelore heifers to below 18 months. Animal, 12, 569–574. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1751731117002464

  7. Gilaverte, S., Susin, I., Pires, A.V., Ferreira, E.M., Mendes, C.Q., Gentil, R.S., Biehl, M.V., Rodrigues, G.H. 2011. Diet digestibility, ruminal parameters and performance of Santa Ines sheep fed dried citrus pulp and wet brewer grain. R. Bras. Zootec. 40, 639–647.https://doi.org/10.1590/S1516-35982011000300024

  8. Hall, M.B., Lewis, B.A., Van Soest, P.J., Chase, L.E. 1997. A simple method for estimation of neutral detergent-soluble fiber. J. Sci. Food Agric. 74, 441–449. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1097-0010(199708)74:4

  9. Johnson, W.L., Barros, N.N., de Oliveira, E.R., Simplicio, A.A., Riera, G.S. 1988. Dietary energy levels and age and weight at puberty in Morada Nova ewe-lambs, in Northeast Brazil. Small Rumin. Res, 1, 67–72. https://doi.org/10.1016/0921-4488(88)90045-4

  10. Macedo, F.A.F., Siqueira, E.R. de, Martins, E.N. 2000. Economical analysis of meat lamb production under two finishing systems: pasture and dry-lot. Ciência Rural, 30, 677–680. https://doi.org/10.1590/S0103-84782000000400020

  11. Mertens, D.R. 1987. Predicting intake and digestibility using mathematical models of ruminal function. J. Ani. Sci. 64, 1548–1558. https://doi.org/10.2527/jas1987.6451548x

  12. Nocek, J.E., Tamminga, S. 1991. Site of digestion of starch in the gastrointestinal tract of dairy cows and its effect on milk and composition. J. Dairy Sci. 74, 3598–3629. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(91)78552-4

  13. NRC, 2007. Nutrient Requirements of Small Ruminants. Sheep, Goats, Cervids, and New World Camelids. National Academic Press, Washington, DC.

  14. Poli, C.H.E.C., Monteiro, A.L.G., Barros, C.S., Moraes, A., Fernandes, M.A.M., Piazzetta, H. V.L. 2008. Meat sheep production on four different production systems. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia, 37, 666–673. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1516-35982008000400012

  15. Polizel, D.M., Gobato, L.G.M., Souza, R.A., Gentil, R.S., Ferreira, E.M., Freire, A.P.A., Susin, I. 2016. Performance and carcass traits of goat kids fed high-concentrate diets containing citrus pulp or soybean hulls. Ciência Rural, 46, 707–712. https://doi.org/10.1590/0103-8478cr20150450

  16. Rodrigues, G.H., Susin, I., Pires, A.V., Mendes, C.Q., Araujo, R.C. de, Packer, I.U., Ribeiro, M.F., Gerage, L.V. 2008. Replacement of corn by citrus pulp in high grain diets fed to feedlot lambs. Ciência Rural, 38, 789–794. https://doi.org/10.1590/S0103-84782008000300031

  17. Santos, A., Giráldez, F. J., Valdés, C., Trevisi, E., Lucini, L., Frutos, J.; Andrés, S. 2018. Milk replacer restriction during early life impairs the live body weight and progesterone patterns of ewe lambs during the replacement period. J. Dairy Sci. 101, 8021–8031. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2018-14648

  18. SAS Institute, 1999. SAS Systems for windows, Version 8.2 ed. SAS Inst., Cary, NC.

  19. Van Soest, P.J. 1994. Nutritional ecology of the ruminant, second ed. Ithaca, New York.

  20. Van Soest, P.J., Robertson, J.B., Lewis, B.A. 1991. Methods for dietary fiber, neutral detergent fiber, and non starch polysaccharides in relation animal nutrition. J. Dairy Sci. 74, 3583–3597. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(91)78551-2

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Evandro Maia Ferreira.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Ferreira, E.M., de Castro Ferraz, M.V., Biava, J.S. et al. Implications of carbohydrate sources and rate of body weight gain on puberty in ewe lambs in tropical climate conditions. Trop Anim Health Prod 52, 373–378 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-019-02025-7

Download citation


  • Sheep
  • Breeding
  • Pelleted citrus pulp
  • Corn
  • Hay