Growth Curves of Texel Male Lambs

Michelli de Fátima Sieklicki, Victor Breno Pedrosa, Caroline Gomes Rocha, Raphael Patrick Moreira, Paula Roberta Falcão, Izaltino Cordeiro dos Santos, Evandro Maia Ferreira, Adriana de Souza Martins

Abstract


Background: The consumption of lamb meat is growing due to improved farming methods. However, to be economically feasible, the animal should stand out for its precocity, fast finishing and muscular force, such as seen in Texel breed. Besides, knowledge about weight gain and development can facilitate the selection of the best animals, and allow a better fitting to farming systems. Growth curves are an effective method that describes animal development, modeling the relationship between weight and age and help to predict the growth rate. Thus, this study aimed to analyze which nonlinear model, including Brody, Gompertz, Von Bertalanffy and Logistic best describe the growth curve of Texel sheep.

Materials, Methods & Results: In this experiment, the lambs were kept in confined system while the ewes, in a semi-extensive system. This study followed 42 Texel male lambs, which were confined from birth to slaughter, and fed concentrated feed (3% of body weight) and corn silage (average 1.5 kg/animal/day), 4 times a day. The lambs were weighed fortnightly, in different classes considered as follows, weight at birth (BW), 15 days (P15), 30 days (P30), 45 days (P45), 60 days (P60), 75 days (P75), 90 days (P90), 105 days (P105), and 120 days (P120), which was defined as the slaughtering weight. The growth curves were determined using the nonlinear models of Brody, Von Bertalanffy, Gompertz and Logistic. The following parameters were used in the curves, Y, slaughtering weight; A, asymptotic weight; k, growth rate, t, animal age; B, constant related to the initial weight; and, m, constant of the curve shape. The criteria used for selecting the model that best described the curve were the mean square error (MSE), which was calculated by dividing the sum of squared error by the number of observations, and also the coefficient of determination (R²), calculated as the square of the correlation between the observed and estimated weights. The average weights observed were as follows, 4.02 kg at birth, 21.68 kg at weaning (P60) and 32.55 kg at slaughtering (P120). The solution of the nonlinear models allows, thru the parameters, establish specific feeding programs and define the optimal slaughtering age. Furthermore, the coefficients of determination, with values close to 97.3%, showed good fits for all models. Still, considering the mean square error, where the lower value indicates the best fit to the data evaluated, the results were 13.1564 (Brody), 13.3421 (Von Bertalanffy), 13.4876 (Gompertz) and 13.6717 (Logistic). The results showed that Brody could be considered the model that best describes the growth rate up to 120 days old of Texel lambs.

Discussion: Compared to other studies, the average weights obtained in the experiment varied widely. This large variation can be explained by the used rearing system that might favor or not the performance of lambs. However, the average weaning weight obtained was similar to several studies in the literature, confirming the potential of Texel breed. This breed demonstrated to be capable to provide a precocious animal, with good growth results from the early developmental stage until the slaughtering age. Regarding the growth curves, the Brody model was the best fit for the estimated and observed weights. Moreover, the coefficient of determination indicated good fits for all models. However, an important aspect is the negative correlation between the A and k parameters, demonstrating that the higher the animal growth rate, the lower its asymptotic size.


Keywords


weight development; non-linear models; sheep.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22456/1679-9216.81165

Copyright (c) 2018 Michelli de Fátima Sieklicki, Victor Breno Pedrosa, Caroline Gomes Rocha, Raphael Patrick Moreira, Paula Roberta Falcão, Izaltino Cordeiro dos Santos, Evandro Maia Ferreira, Adriana de Souza Martins

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