Evaluation of Alternative and Conventional Small Ruminant finishing systems for the tropics.


Stuart A. Weiss sweiss@live.uvi.edu



Small ruminant finishing has predominantly centered on confinement feeding of high protein and high energy concentrate feeds over a 100 day period.  This period usually follows a post weaning grazing period of one to three months prior to pen finishing.  Traditionally, this method has been applied to lamb feed yards.  High protein/energy concentrate feed is difficult to obtain and economically prohibitive to small ruminant producers on St. Croix and to most of the other Caribbean islands.  As a result, local hair sheep are marketed as grass fed only with very little to no finish.  This results in lighter carcasses, increased slaughter age, increased shrink, decreased carcass quality and palatability, and lower economic value.  Pasture finishing lambs with the incorporation of high quality forage legumes may provide additional nutritional resources to increase pasture productivity over that of native pasture.


  • Compare production responses of Dorper X St. Croix White lambs on native pasture and improved pasture with energy supplement.
  • Evaluate forage selectivity of post-weaning lambs by comparing biomass production and forage quality analysis of grazed and ungrazed growth plots on native and improved pastures.


  • Funded through the USDA TSTAR Program

University of the Virgin Islands      
Agricultural Experiment Station                      
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