Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran.
This experiment was carried out to compare the effects of treated and untreated wheat straw with Pleurotus florida on ewe feed intake, nutrient digestibility, and ewe body condition score (BCS) after parturition. Thirty Kermani ewes with an average weight of 48 ± 3.05 kg and about four years old were used in this experiment. Synchronization of estrus in sheep has been achieved with the use of intravaginal sponges containing synthetic progestagens. Sixty days before parturition, ewes were randomly assigned to three diets: 1) control (50% untreated wheat straw), 2) 50% treated wheat straw before harvesting the fungi, 3) 50% treated wheat straw after harvesting the fungi. The energy and CP content of the experimental diets were 2.1 Mcal and 11.0%, respectively, and Ca:P ratio was 1.8. Dry matter intake (DMI) and organic matter intake (OMI) were affected by the experimental diets (P < 0.05). These values were higher for diets containing treated wheat straw before and after harvesting fungi than the control diet. Coefficients of DM and OM digestibility were higher (P < 0.05) in diets containing treated wheat straw before and after harvesting fungi. However, CP, NDF and ADF digestibility were not affected by the diet (P > 0.05). The ewe body weight and body condition score (BCS) postpartum were not affected by experimental diets. At the beginning of experiment, there was a negative correlation between lamb birth weight and ewe body weight and BCS > 4 had lighter lambs (P < 0.05). In this experiment it is showed that moderate BCS of ewe had positive effect on lamb body weight (BW) which indicated that there was a positive effect of moderate BCS on lambs BW. Treated wheat straw with Pleurotus florida increased digestibility coefficients of DM and OM; however, the increase in digestibility was not large enough to affect the ewe BW and BCS, and the birth weight of lambs.