Impacts of supplemental arginine on the reproductive performance of fall lambing ewes. Academic Article uri icon


  • In sheep, embryonic and fetal death during pregnancy can account for 25% to 50% of the total number of corpora lutea (and thus potential embryos). The objective of this study was to determine the effects of injectable and oral Arg supplementation provided for 14 d postbreeding on the reproductive performance of naturally stimulated fall lambing ewes. Rambouillet ewes ( = 210) were exposed to rams equipped with marking harnesses to induce cyclicity in April 2012. Upon estrus detection (d 0) ewes were randomly assigned, in a completely random design, to 1 of 6 treatments for a 14-d treatment period: injectable saline (CON; = 25), injectable Ala (IVALA; = 20), injectable Arg (IVARG; = 23), oral rumen-protected Arg (RPARG; = 20), oral fish meal (FM; = 24), or oral soybean meal (SBM; = 23). Daily treatments, except CON, IVALA, and SBM, were formulated to provide supplemental Arg at 30 mgkg BWd and were provided at 0800 h daily. Ewes receiving injectable treatments were provided 454 g corn/d postinjection, whereas ewes receiving oral supplements were provided a ground ration of their respective treatments with corn individually at 0800 h daily. Plasma and serum samples were collected on d 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14 from 12 ewes per treatment to evaluate plasma progesterone and serum AA concentrations. At lambing, birth weight, birth type, and sex were recorded. Weaning weights were recorded when the average age of lambs was 85 d. No differences ( 0.39) were detected for pregnancy, prolificacy, and lambing rates or lamb birth weights among treatments. However, litter weaning weight tended to be greater ( = 0.06) and weaning rates were greater ( = 0.05) in Arg-injected ewes (1.09, 0.95, 1.29, 0.72, 1.00, and 0.86, respectively). Plasma progesterone and serum Arg concentrations showed a treatment and day effect ( < 0.001), but no treatment day interaction ( 0.99) was observed. In contrast to previous research, supplemental Arg during the first 14 d of pregnancy did not improve pregnancy or lambing rates; however, IVARG did positively impact weaning rates.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Crane, A. R., Redden, R. R., Van Emon, M. L., Neville, T. L., Reynolds, L. P., Caton, J. S., & Schauer, C. S.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • Crane, AR||Redden, RR||Van Emon, ML||Neville, TL||Reynolds, LP||Caton, JS||Schauer, CS

publication date

  • January 2016