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Since the spring of 2022, the MSU sheep flock has been an Innovation Flock for the Sheep GEMS project, managed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The GEMS project is a multi-breed, national project evaluating longevity of ewes within flocks. Our part as a participant in the project involves collecting and sending raw data which is compiled into 1 very large data set. The research discussed here uses our preliminary data from the 2022 and 2023 lambing seasons collected from our Katahdin ewes (n =38; 1-4.5 years of age). Collected data included fecal egg count (FEC), body condition scoring (BCS), FAMACHA scores, teat and udder scores. Data were analyzed using the CORR procedure in SAS with a significance level set at P < 0.05. Ewe age provided the most correlations, including a negative relationship (r = -0.384) with teat score and a positive relationship (r = 0.28) with BCS. There was also a negative correlation (r = -0.31) between FEC and ewe age, along with a positive relationship (r = 0.267) with the incidence of mastitis. Furthermore, udder scores were negatively related (r = - 0.25) to FAMACHA, and positively correlated to FEC. Also, the teat score was negatively correlated (r = - 0.34) with BCS. The results of this project underline the importance of multiple traits which could contribute to ewes leaving the flock early.

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Relationships Among Maternal Characteristics in Hair Sheep



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