Bulgarian sheep

Hankkija’s yeast hydrolysate Progut® is a scientifically proven rumen enhancer and immunomodulator for dairy cows and bovine calves. Progut® enhances milk production and reduces somatic cell counts, as well as helps young ruminants to develop their immunological functions, such as antibody responses to vaccines. In parts of Europe, sheep and goats are locally important dairy animals. The present experiment studied the effect of Progut® on the production of milk in dairy sheep in Bulgaria.

Forty ewes of the Synthetic population Bulgarian milk (SPBM) were divided into two groups, each with 20 sheep, 15 days prior to the expected day of giving birth.  The animals were of uniform age, lactation, milk production and type of birth. The daily feed of the control group consisted of 1.3 kg of alfalfa hay, 2.0 kg of corn sileage and 1.0 kg of concentrate feed with the main ingredients of triticale, corn and wheat. The experimental group received 0.2% of Progut® in the concentrate feed, which provided 2.0 g of Progut/sheep/day.

The 120-day test period was divided into eight 15-day periods (I-VIII). The ewes were milked on the morning and evening of each day. Every 15 days, the volume of morning milk produced by each ewe was measured and a 20-ml milk sample was collected for determining the fat and protein content and dry matter percentage of the milk. The total milk volume was calculated for each sheep using the previous information on the quantity ratio of morning and evening milk. The milk volume per sheep and period was calculated by multiplying the milk production for the test day by the number of days in the test period. For each sheep, the milk production for the 120 days milking period was determined by the sum of the milk production for the individual test periods.

Progut® increased the milk volume consistently over the eight periods of the 120-day trial (Figure 1). The milk dry matter percentage and the fat and protein content of the milk were similar in both groups.

Figure 1. Milk quantity (L) in the 15-day periods I-VIII; Figure 2. Total milk yield (L) over the 120-day trial period

The average total milk yield over the 120-day trial period was 89.7 (±5.15) L/sheep in the control group and 95.9 (±5.57) L/sheep in the Progut® group with a statistically significant 6.9% increase as a response to  Progut® (p < 0.05; Figure 2).

The total volume of milk produced by the control and Progut® groups over 120 days were 1794 L and 1918 L, respectively. Thus, the twenty Progut®-fed sheep produced a total of 124 L more milk than the control group during the trial. In conclusion, Progut® increased the milk volume of SPBM sheep by 6.9% over the 120-day period, suggesting a marked return of investment for the farmer.

The photograph of Synthetic population Bulgarian milk sheep by Izvora, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.