The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate under field conditions the effect of a probiotic containing Bacillus licheniformis and Bacillus subtilis on young lamb mortality and sheep milk production when administered in the late pregnancy and lactation feed of ewes. In a sheep farm, two groups of milking ewes with identical genetic material, management, nutrition, health status and similar production characteristics were formed. One group (46 ewes) served as control, while the other one (48 ewes) served as a probiotic-treated group. Both groups of ewes received a similar feeding regiment, but the ewes of the second group were additionally offered a probiotic product containing B. licheniformis and B. subtilis (BioPlus 2B, Chr. Hansen, Denmark) at the approximate dose of 2.56 × 109 viable spores per ewe per day. Lamb mortality during the 1.5 months suckling period, and milk yield during the 2 months of milk collection for commercial purposes have been recorded. In the non-treated control group, 13.1% mortality was observed versus 7.8% in the probiotic-treated group (P = 0.33), with mortality being mainly due to diarrhoea. Microbiological examination of diarrhoeic faeces from some of the dead lambs in both groups revealed the presence of Escherichia coli. The average daily milk yield per ewe was significantly lower in the control group (0.80 l) than that in the probiotic-treated group (0.93 l) (P < 0.05). Fat and protein content of milk in ewes that received probiotics was significantly (P < 0.05) increased compared with untreated ewes. It was concluded that supplementing ewe's feed with probiotics may have beneficial effect on subsequent milk yields, fat and protein content.
|Number of pages
|Journal of Veterinary Medicine Series A: Physiology Pathology Clinical Medicine
|Published - May 2006
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- General Veterinary