Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2021

Thesis Advisor(s)

Dr. Sarah Reed; Dr. Steven Zinn

Honors Major

Animal Science


Poor maternal nutrition negatively affects the health of the offspring including changes in growth and development. Body morphometrics, including body weight, height, length, girth, and body condition score, are commonly used to monitor the health and growth of livestock. However, correlations of ewe and lamb body morphometrics in the presence of poor maternal nutrition have not been well studied. Therefore, we hypothesized that over- and under- feeding ewes during gestation would cause negative effects on the normal body frame measurements of the lamb. To test this, 46 multiparous individually housed ewes, ranging from 2 to 7 years old, were randomly assigned one of three diets based on the National Research Council requirements for total digestible nutrients (TDN) for pregnant ewes: control, CON (100% of TDN, n = 13), restricted , RES (60% of TDN, n = 17), or over-fed, OVER (140% of TDN, n = 16). Ewe body measurements were taken during gestation, day 55.03± 6.48, and include crown-rump length (CRL), height, girth, and length. Offspring (n = 91, CON = 26, RES = 34, OVER = 31) measurements were taken on day 0, 7, and 120 of age and include weight, CRL, and girth. Data were analyzed using the CORR procedure in SAS comparing the ewe body measurements with the respective lamb body measurements in each treatment. There were no significant differences in ewe CRL, height, girth, or length between treatments (P > 0.053). There were no correlations of lamb and ewe variables in RES (r < 0.39) and OVER (r < 0.60). These results suggest that the ability to predict the size of the offspring is weakened when maternal over- and restricted- diets are present. This may be due to increased variation in the size of the offspring.