Influences of non-genetic factors on early growth of Adilo lambs under smallholder management systems, southern Ethiopia


Stagnant early growth and mortality are the major impediments for sheep production in southern Ethiopia. We evaluated the effects of non-genetic factors on early growth performance of lambs in Halaba district with 467 lambs owned by 60 households. Body weights (kilograms) of lambs at birth, 30, 60, 90, 120, and 150 days were 2.30 ± 0.03, 4.45 ± 0.11, 6.94 ± 0.13, 10.4 ± 0.19, 13.3 ± 0.19, and 15.7 ± 0.20, respectively. The average daily gain (ADG; gram) from birth to 30, 60, 90, 120, and 150 days were 71.18 ± 8.18, 77.18 ± 2.19, 89.20 ± 1.98, 91.18 ± 1.51, and 90.68 ± 1.27, respectively. Season effect was significant (p < 0.05) for weight at birth, 30, and 120 days. Similarly, season of birth influenced (p < 0.05) ADG (gram) at all ages except from birth to 60 days. Single-born lambs were heavier over multiple births (p < 0.01), 90 (p < 0.001) and 120 days (p < 0.05) and higher (p < 0.001) ADG from birth to 90 days. There were significant interaction effects of parity by sex at birth (p < 0.01) and parity by type of birth (p < 0.001) and 90 days (p < 0.01). From the non-genetic factors estimated in this study, season and type of birth, and their interaction had a more profound effect at early growth of lambs, and they need to be considered in the improvement plan of sheep under Halaba arid to semi-arid environments. Efforts geared towards planned breeding, improved nutrition, and health would assist farmers to exploit these indigenous and adaptable sheep resources efficiently.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1


  1. Abegaz, S., Negussie E., Duguma G., Rege, J.E.O., 2002. Genetic parameter estimates for growth traits in Horro sheep, Journal of Animal breeding and Genetics, 119, 35–45.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Akhtar, M., Javed, K., Abdullah, M., Ahmad, N., Elzo, M. A., 2012. Environmental factors affecting pre-weaning growth traits of buchi sheep in Pakistan, Journal of Animal & Plant Sciences, 22, 529–536.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Duguma G., Schoeman, S. J., Cloete, S.W.P., Jordan, G.F., 2002. The influence of non-genetic factors on early growth traits in the Tygerhoek Merino lambs, Ethiopian Journal of Animal Production, 2, 127–141.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Gardner, D.S., Buttery, P.J., Daniel, Z. and Symounds, M.E., 2007. Factors affecting birth weight in sheep: maternal environment, Reproduction, 133, 297–307.

    CAS  PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Gbangboche, A.B.., Adamou-Ndiayeb, M., Youssao, A.K.I., Farnir, F., Detilleux, J., Abiola, F.A., Leroy, P.L., 2006. Non-genetic factors affecting the reproduction performance, lamb growth and productivity indices of Djallonke sheep, Small Ruminant Research, 64, 133–142.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Gizaw, S., Komen, H., Hanote, O., van Arendonk, J.A.M., Kemp, S., Aynalem, Haile., Mwai, O., Tadelle Dessie., 2011. Characterization and conservation of indigenous sheep genetic resources: A practical framework for developing countries, ILRI Research Report No. 27, Nairobi, Kenya, 8–10.

  7. Gootwine, E., Reicher, S., Rozov, A., 2008. Prolific and lamb survival at birth in Awassi and Assaf sheep carrying the FecB (Booroola) mutation, Animal Reproduction Science, 108, 402–411.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Hassen, Y., Solkiner J., Gizaw, S., Baumung R., 2002. Performances of crossbred and indigenous sheep under village conditions in the cool highlands of central-Northern Ethiopia: growth, birth and body weights, Small ruminant research, 43, 195–202.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Hassen, Y., Sölkner, J., Fuerst-Waltl, B., 2004. Body weight of Awassi and indigenous Ethiopian sheep and their crosses, Small Ruminant Research 55, 51–56.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Kosgey, I.S., Okeyo, A.M., 2007. Genetic improvement of small ruminants in low-input, smallholder production systems: Technical and infrastructural issues, Small Ruminant Research, 70, 76–88.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Kosgey, I.S., Rowlands, G.J., van Arendonk, J.A.M., Baker, R.L., 2008. Small ruminant production in smallholder and pastoral/extensive farming systems in Kenya, Small Ruminant Research, 77, 11–24.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Legesse, G., 2008. Productive and Economic performance of Small Ruminant production in production system of the Highlands of Ethiopia, (unpublished PhD thesis, University of Hohenheim).

  13. Momoh, O.M., Rotimi, E.A., Dim, N.I., 2013. Breed effect and non-genetic factors affecting growth performance of sheep in a semi-arid region of Nigeria, Journal of Applied Biosciences, 67, 5302–5307.

    Google Scholar 

  14. SAS, 2009. SAS Version 9.3. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA.

  15. Taye, M., Abebe G., Gizaw S., Lemma S., Mekoya A., Tibbo M., 2010. Growth performances of Washera sheep under smallholder management systems in Yilmanadensa and Quarit districts, Ethiopia, Tropical Animal Health & Production, 42,659-667.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Tibbo, M., 2006. Productivity and health of indigenous sheep breeds and crossbreds in the central Ethiopian highlands. Faculty of Medicine and Animal Science Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics. (unpublished PhD thesis, University of Uppsala, Sweden).

  17. Tsedeke, K., Girma, A., Azage, T., Berhanu, G., 2011. Marketing value-chain of smallholder sheep and goats in crop-livestock mixed farming system of Halaba, Southern Ethiopia, Small Ruminant Research, 96, 101–105.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Yilmaz, O., Denk, H., Bayram, D., 2007. Effects of lambing season, sex and birth type on growth performance in Norduz lambs, Small Ruminant Research, 68, 336–339.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


Smallholder sheep and goat owners are dully acknowledged for giving permission to use their animals. Improving Productivity and Market Success (IPMS) of Ethiopian farmers (International Livestock Research Institute, ILRI) and Southern Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) are dully acknowledged for supporting this on-farm study. The authors are also grateful to the staff of the Halaba Bureau of Agriculture.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Deribe Gemiyo.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Gemiyo, D., Abebe, G. & Tegegne, A. Influences of non-genetic factors on early growth of Adilo lambs under smallholder management systems, southern Ethiopia. Trop Anim Health Prod 46, 323–329 (2014).

Download citation


  • Growth
  • Lamb
  • Non-genetic factor
  • Smallholder
  • South Ethiopia