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Title: Neonatal lamb mortality: factors associated with the death of Australian lambs
Contributor(s): Refshauge, G (author); Brien, F D (author); Hinch, Geoffrey  (author)orcid ; van de Ven, R (author)
Publication Date: 2016
DOI: 10.1071/AN15121
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Abstract: The objective of the present study was to examine the factors associated with the death of neonatal lambs. Postmortem autopsy data were collected from 3198 newborn lambs in the Sheep CRCs Information Nucleus Flock situated in various environments throughout southern Australia. The proportion dying by category from highest to lowest was starvation-mismothering (25%), stillbirth (21%), birth injury (18%), dystocia (9%), death in utero-prematurity (10%), predation (7%), cold exposure (5%), undiagnosed (4%), infection (1%) or misadventure (1%). Factors best explaining the probability of lambs falling into a death category included both birth type and birthweight for dystocia, stillbirth, starvation-mismothering and death in utero-prematurity. The probability of a lamb falling into any category was predicted at the mean birthweight, within birth type. Single-born lambs were more likely to die from dystocia and stillbirth, while twin lambs were more likely to die from birth injury, starvation-mismothering or from undiagnosed causes. Triplet lambs were more likely to die from starvation-mismothering or death in utero-prematurity. Sire type (Merino, maternal or terminal) did not affect the proportions of lambs within any category. The proportions lost to each cause of death were largely consistent among locations, despite the rate of death varying. Dystocia, stillbirth and birth injury, as evidenced by the presence of oedema around the head and neck or by lesions of the central nervous system, accounted for 48% of autopsied lambs. We conclude that for improvements to occur in the rates of lamb survival, the Australian sheep industry must focus on minimising losses due to dystocia, stillbirth, birth injury and starvation.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Animal Production Science, 56(4), p. 726-735
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 1836-5787
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 070206 Animal Reproduction
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 300305 Animal reproduction and breeding
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 830310 Sheep - Meat
830311 Sheep - Wool
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 100412 Sheep for meat
100413 Sheep for wool
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article

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