Relationship between FAMACHA© scores and zootechnical indicators of a sheep production system
Keywords:Body condition score, Haemonchosis, Litter size, Performance, Worms
In Brazil, lamb producers face challenges raising their animals because of high anthelmintic resistance and loss of productivity due to parasites. It is well known that parasitic infections can reduce the performance of sheep. However, until the publication of this work, no research was found that quantified the effects that anemia reflected by FAMACHA© scores can exert on other zootechnical indicators in a lamb production system. The objective of this study was to use the FAMACHA© scores to quantify the impacts of anemia in ewes at breeding and lambing on the productive and reproductive performance of a meat sheep flock. The variables evaluated were i) FAMACHA© score of ewes at breeding and lambing, ii) body condition score of ewes at breeding and at lambing, iii) average daily gain of lambs until weaning, iv) ewe’s age, v) birth weights per individual lamb and litter, vi) weaning weight, vii) ewe’s weight, viii) litter size and ix) pre-weaning survival. The treatments evaluated corresponded to the FAMACHA© score of the ewes during breeding and lambing. Quantitative responses were submitted to analyses of variance and compared by Duncan’s test. In contrast, qualitative or discrete responses were evaluated by the Kruskal & Wallis test and compared to Dunn’s test. The Wilcoxon test was performed to compare the FAMACHA© scores of ewes at breeding and lambing. All statistical analyzes were performed using the R-Studio software version 4.2.0 at a 5% significance level. The FAMACHA© score of breeding ewes was related to the body condition score at breeding, ewe weight, pre-weaning survival, ewe age, litter size, and birth weight. Furthermore, the FAMACHA© score of ewes at lambing was related to the body condition score at lambing, ewe weight, pre-weaning survival, birth weight per lamb and litter, pre-weaning average daily gain, weaning weight, and age of the ewe. There was no significant difference between the test times of the FAMACHA© scores of the ewes, indicating that an ewe will present a similar score at both stages. It was concluded that ewes with FAMACHA© scores of 4 and 5 and their offspring showed the worst productive and reproductive performances. Conversely, the ewes with FAMACHA© 1 obtained the opposite result, demonstrating better technical performance.
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