Extension Number

ASL R1467



Publication Date



Forty-four Hampshire (H) and 41 Suffolk (S) ewes were allotted within breed to one of four treatment groups (VitA, VitE, VitAE, and Control) to evaluate the effect of supplemental vitamin E and A on reproductive performance of ewes mated on pasture or in drylot. Beginning two weeks before the mating period, ewes received 0 or 300 IU of vitamin E every 14 days and 0 or 250,000 IU of vitamin A every 28 days. Hampshire ewes remained on pasture during the mating period, whereas S ewes were moved to drylot. Treatment did not affect ovulation rate (OR), embryonic loss (EL), fetal loss (FL) or litter size (LS) of H ewes. Embryonic loss was higher (P<.05) in the H yearlings and two-year olds than in older ewes. Litter size was lower (P<.01) for H yearlings compared with other age groups. Suffolk ewes in the VitE group exhibited a lower (P<.01) OR than S ewes in other treatment groups, but no effect of treatment was observed for EL, FL, or LS. Although S yearling ewes did not differ from ewes of other age groups for OR and EL, they did produce fewer (P<.05) lambs. Analysis of serum samples revealed that H yearling ewes exhibited lower (P<.05) serum a-tocopherol levels than older H ewes. In addition, H ewes had a higher (P<.05) serum a-tocopherol level than S ewes at the beginning of study when they were managed as one group. Even though age and breed influenced certain reproductive parameters, results of this study indicate little effect of supplemental vitamin E and A on the overall reproductive efficiency of ewes mated on pasture or in drylot.

Copyright Owner

Iowa State University



File Format