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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Body condition score and sheep production systems : feeding diagnosis and advice in Cévennes

INRA Prod. Anim., 2 (2), 79-88.

B. DEDIEU, E. COURNUT*, A. GIBON**

ENITA de Clermont-Ferrand, 63370 Lempdes

* Service Elevage Gard-Hérault, Avenue E. d’Alzon, 30120 Le Vigan
** INRA Unité de Recherches sur les systèmes agraires et développement, BP 27, 31326 Castanet-Tolosan Cedex

Abstract 
The body condition of ewes mated in spring was scored in eight farms of Cévennes Gardoises (dry mountains in the South of France) between November 1986 and April 1987. Body condition at April mating is different depending on the farms and is sometimes reduced to such poor level that less 75 % fertility is obtained, the minimum values that farmers would wish to achieve. The evolution of the ewes’body condition scores during autumn and winter depends on lambing period (September-October, November or February-March), the lactation period in autumn (more or less than two months) and the situation of each farm. The total amount of hay given to the ewes complementary to grazing and the changes in body condition can be used to give a feeding diagnosis : either excess of or lack of complementation, or insufficient contribution of pasture. More precise advice, for one type of ewe at one period, is based on the comparison of what is done on farms, such as the choice of pasture, the duration of intake at pasture, the quantity of complementation, and how the body condition scores vary. A body condition index for farms wishing lambings grouped in early automn is proposed.

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