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The MSU sheep flock is an Innovation Flock in the Sheep GEMS project through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The Sheep GEMS project is a national, multi-breed project that is focused on evaluating different sheep breeds and their longevity in different climates. As a participant, we collect/send raw data that is compiled. Our preliminary data from the 2022 (Year 1) and 2023 (Year 2) lambing season has been included. We collected measurements from Katahdin ewes (n = 38; 1-4.5 years old). We measured fecal egg counts (FEC), FAMACHA scores, body condition scores (BCS), teat and udder scores. Using the MIXED procedures of SAS, we evaluated these measurements for differences between year and origin. As the ewe flock was established in the summer of 2021, our ewes were sourced from 5 outside flocks. Main effects of treatment are reported if no interaction was observed. An interaction of year and origin (P = 0.02) was observed in FEC. A year effect was observed on FAMACHA, as ewes in Year 1 had lower and more desirable FAMACHA scores in comparison to Year 2 (2.18 vs. 1.97, respectively). Teat scores were different by year, (P < 0.01) as Year 1 was higher compared to Year 2 (5.58 and 4.46, respectively). Udder scores were not different by year or origin (P > 0.148). Ewe BCS differed by year (P = 0.06) and origin (P = 0.02). Effects of year were widely seen and speak to the impact of year-to-year changes in environment. IACUC #22-11-02

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The Role of Year and Animal Origin on Key Determinants of Ewe Longevity



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