Joanne Kerslake

Doctor of Philosophy, (Animals Science)
Study Completed: 2010
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Improving triplet lamb survival in New Zealand

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

The objective of Ms Kerslake thesis was to identify physical and physiological differences between lambs of different birth ranks, and to use this information identify practical on-farm management strategies which could improve triplet-born lamb survival. Findings consistently showed that triplet-born lambs had lighter birth weights, lower plasma thyroid hormone concentrations and lower rectal temperatures when compared to twin-born lambs. This suggested that triplet-born lambs had a greater capacity to lose heat and a reduced capacity to produce heat. Two practical on-farm management strategies which were trialled to improve triplet-born lamb thermoregulation included offering concentrate supplement during late pregnancy to improve lamb birth weight and maternal iodine supplementation to improve lamb thyroid hormone concentrations. While offering concentrate showed positive effects on lamb birth weight, colostrum uptake and lamb heat production, maternal iodine supplementation had no effect on plasma thyroid hormone concentration or lamb heat production.

Professor Paul Kenyon
Professor Stephen Morris
Professor Patrick Morel
Professor Kevin Stafford