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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 multibreed, 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, 2023, and 2024 lambing seasons collected from our Katahdin ewes (n =46; 1-5 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. Udder depth provided the most correlations, including a negative relationship (r = - 0.21) with ewe age and a negative relationship (r = - 0.21) with FAMACHA. There was also a negative correlation (r = - 0.21) between udder depth and BCS. Furthermore, ewe age was negatively related (r = - 0.28) to FEC. Unsurprisingly, there was a positive relationship (r = 0.22) between udder and teat scores. Also, the BCS was positively correlated (r = 0.21) with mastitis incidence. The results of this project underline the importance of multiple traits which could contribute to ewes leaving the flock early.

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Higher Education | Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Interrelationships of Maternal Characteristics in Hair Sheep



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