Abstract

ABSTRACT1. Two groups of artificially-reared lambs were used to evaluate electronic equipment which allowed group-housed lambs individual access to their own food supply.2. Trial group A comprised six lambs in a cross-over design between individual metabolism cages and group-housing with electronic doors to examine the effects of method of housing upon ad libitum food consumption. There were no significant differences in dry-matter intake although it was observed that food consumption was temporarily reduced during the training periods.3. Trial group B comprised 16 lambs used to test established training techniques and to examine the effects of adaptation to electronic doors upon food consumption and live-weight gain over a period of 50 days. There was a reduced intake of food during days 1 to 7 which resulted in the daily dry-matter intakes and live-weight gains for days 8 to 50 and 15 to 50 being higher (P<0·01) than those for the total period (days 1 to 50). It was concluded that a minimum of 7, and preferably 14, days were required for training lambs and for adaptation to a diet provided through electronic doors.

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