The growth of lambs: Does the number of lambs per ewe affect their rate of growth?

Essay by sarahakagilly March 2004

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Aim: The aim of my investigation is to see which lamb grows the best and fastest out of single, twin or triplet.

Input variable: Number of lambs per ewe.

Output variable: Growth rate (weight of lambs)

Other variables: housing, how much food for the ewe, size of ewe, the sex of it, if castrated, the breed of it.

I will make it a fair test by feeding all the ewes the same food and giving them the same amount of time out at grass. I will also keep them in the same housing environment kept at the same temperature.

Prediction: I think that the single lamb will grow faster and have a higher weight I also think it will be born the largest and grow fast. I think that the twins will be a healthy weight when born and through out their lives. I think that the triplets will grow the slowest and will be born the smallest maybe one being smaller than the others.

Justification: I think my prediction will happen because in the uterus the single lamb has more room than the triplets in the womb and it will have a bigger placenta than triplets which means the single lamb gets more nutrients and oxygen and is not fighting for space. Once born the single lamb gets more colostrums (first milk) than he would if he was born as a twin or a triplet. For the mother it will be easier because she only has one lamb to look after.

Equipment: I will need a weigh create to weigh the lambs.

Method: To do this I will mark the lambs with spray paint with a number at birth so I can tell them apart, for the same breeds I will also mark them with a letter. To weigh...