Average growth curves and individual mature weights were studied for ewes of Swedish Finewool Landrace. The material consisted of nearly 8000 records from about 600 ewes by 40 sires. The weights varied between seasons and the ewes were growing up to 4 and 5 years of age, when they approached their mature weight. Mature weight of ewes can be estimated as the asymptote of the negative expontential growth curve, when the ewe has reached an age of at least 2 1/2 years. Heritability of mature weight was estimated to 0.29. The influence of ewe weight on efficiency of sheep breeding is discussed. It is pointed out that the knowledge about the interrelationships between ewe weight, lamb growth rate, prolificacy and maternal capacity must be increased in order to correctly consider these traits in an efficient breeding program.

A. Nasholm

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume XV. Beef cattle, sheep and pig genetics and breeding, fibre, fur and meat quality., , 88–91, 1990
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