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  • Author: Samir Z. El-Zarkouny x
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Abstract

The effects of two dietary supplemental energy sources on metabolic attributes, milk production and ovarian activity of ewes during early to mid-postpartum period were studied using thirty multiparous lactating ewes (Rahmani × Barki) weighing 43.10±1.22 kg and 3-6 years old. The ewes were assigned to three groups (n=10 per group). All ewes received the same diet supplemented with isocaloric and isonitrogenous protected-palm oil (50 g/ewe/d, F-group) or a sugar cane molasses (140 g/ewe/d, M-group) or without supplementation (control, C-group), for 60 days starting 2 weeks postpartum. Results showed that, during the experimental period, both energy sources reduced (P<0.05) body weight loss of ewes compared with the control (2.57 kg in F-group, 0.911 kg in M-group and 4.71 kg in C-group). The metabolic profiles of ewes were affected by the sources of energy, the highest (P<0.05) concentration of serum triglycerides was in the F-group, whereas the highest (P<0.05) concentration of serum insulin was in the M-group. The lowest serum glucose concentration was (P<0.05) in the F-group (73.20 mg/dL) and the highest in the C-group (76.85 mg/dL), whereas it was intermediate in the M-group (74.69 mg/dL). Ewes in the F-group had (P<0.05) the highest milk yield and energy-corrected milk (531.72 g/d and 554.40 g/d, respectively) compared with those in the M-group (491.76 g/d and 525.12 g/d, respectively) and C-group (429.96 g/d and 462.00 g/d, respectively). The highest (P<0.05) number of corpora lutea (CL; ovulation activity) was in the F-group (0.45), whereas it was not different between the M-group (0.25) and the C-group (0.15). In conclusion, during early to mid-postpartum period, protected-fat supplementation increased serum triglycerides concentration which was effectively used as an energyyielding nutrient for improving milk production. It could also be suggested that specific fatty acid in protected-fat improved quality of the ovulatory follicle and thus occurrence of ovulation.