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A preliminary study on the effect of different feeding regimes on the physiochemical characteristics of local sheepÂ’s milk.

Authors: Joseph Jason Abela, ,
  • Institute: Centre for Agriculture, Aquatics and Animal Sciences
  • Symposium: Environmental and Cultural Sustainability
  • Day: 2 , Session: 1 , Location: Conference Hall 1
  • Session Type: Medium 15 min (Presentation of ongoing research developments and findings) , Start: 10:00 , End: 10:20


Herding of sheep was part of the Maltese food supply chain for a long time. Sheep were mainly kept for milk, meat and wool. Local sheep milk was and is still in use for cheese production especially cheeselets. The participants in this study were local sheep that were fed different feeding regimes. In total 6 farms were identified. These were scattered through the main island with four different feeding regimes. Milk samples were collected during early, mid and late lactation. Samples were taken directly from the pail or milk tank before starting the process to transform this milk into cheeslets, i.e., exactly after milking. Samples were analyzed the day after in the laboratory using the Lactoscan SP milk analyser. Data gathered included fat percentage, protein, lactose, freezing point and salts. The best milk fat results in this research were obtained by the group fed concentrates, dried hay and went for an hour grazing per day. The group fed concentrates and got access to three hours of grazing per day got the best results with regards to protein, lactose, and salts content in the milk. This means that good energy:protein ratio in the feed is important as all ingredients found in the raw milk have an important function. Therefore, reaching the best level of each is the main priority for the farmer to obtain a final product of good quality.

Keywords: Milk chemical composition, sheep milk quality, feeding regimes, milk analysis, raw milk.