Performance of Barbados Blackbelly sheep on a cut-and-carry system.
Performance of a flock of Black Belly Sheep was observed for 3 years under a cut-and-carry system at St. Stanislaus College Farm, Sophia Georgetown, Guyana. Sheep were raised essentially on a slatted floor pen. Echinochloa pyramidalis was fed chopped at the rate of 4.5 kg per adult sheep each day. Supplemented feed of a mixture of rice bran, wheat-middling, copra meal and mineral premix was fed daily at a rate of 0.45 kg per adult sheep. Mineral block was given ad libitum. Ewes were put with a ram 3 weeks after lambing and separated when pregnancy was evident. Periodic administration of anthelmintics and hoof clippings were practised. Performance parameters measured over the 3 years indicated that 39.7% ewes lambed once per year, 51.6% ewes had 2 lambs per litter and lambing percentage was 139%. On average, lambs weaned per ewe mated was 98.9%; birth weight was 1.8 kg (males and females) and weaning rate was 73.1%. Based on this intensive production system, it is concluded that there is need to ensure adequate levels of major minerals and energy in rations while at the same time promoting a cheap forage-based feed.