Pulina, Giuseppe and Nudda, Anna and Macciotta, Nicolò Pietro Paolo and Battacone, Gianni and Rassu, Salvatore Pier Giacomo and Cannas, Antonello (2007) Non-nutritional factors affecting lactation persistency in dairy ewes: a review. Italian Journal of Animal Science, Vol. 6 , p. 115-141. eISSN 1828-051X. Article.
Milk production is largely related to the shape of the lactation curve. Key elements of the lactation pattern are peak yield, which is the maximum daily yield reached during lactation, and lactation persistency, which is the medium rate of milk yield decrease after the lactation peak. The ideal lactation curve should have a reasonably high peak and a flat trend afterwards. A more persistent lactation is desirable because it is related to better animal health and reduction of feeding costs. Effective strategies to improve lactation persistency require a deep understanding of the main factors that affect this trait, including genetics, hormonal status and administration, udder morphology, seasonal changes, management, animal health (e.g. mastitis), stress and nutrition. This review covers the effects of non-nutritional factors on lactation persistency in dairy sheep.
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