A computer model that simulates animal performance was used to project how sheep in northern Kenya would respond to selection for mature size and milk production. Three selection intensities were employed which corresponded to culling ewes at 5, 6 or 8 years of age. In addition, rams were replaced every 1 or 2 years. With the simulation model it was possible to evaluate flock productivity as well as individual animal performance over 15 years. Flock performance, determined by protein efficiency, indicated that in this arid environment, culling ewes at 8 years of age was the most beneficial practice in terms of increasing protein efficiency. Culling at 5 years of age decreased protein efficiency for much of the 15 years and resulted in decreasing total flock size. These results suggest that selection could be practiced on this sheep population and that a high level of selection intensity should be used to compensate for modest ewe replacement rates.

Harvey D Blackburn, J. F Taylor

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., , 127–130, 1990
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