Genetics of lamb survival

Sheep and lamb

Study animal science and the genetic relationship between birth weight and lamb survival in a research flock.

Poor lamb survival is a major contributor to sheep reproductive inefficiency in Australia where survival of lambs from birth to weaning can vary considerably and is often less than 80% of lambs born. It has been estimated that 10 million lambs and weaners are lost to the Australian sheep annually making it one of the largest losses from endemic disease or wastage (Sackett et al. 2006).

Apart from the economic impact, such reproductive wastage is an animal welfare concern, which adds further incentive to find effective strategies to improve lamb survival.

Whilst there are a number of management strategies known to improve lamb survival the potential for genetic gain to further enhance survival as part of an integrated approach is warranted. 

Key methodology: A genetic analysis of the existing South Australian Selection Demonstration Flock Data will be done.

Wayne Pitchford


Professor Wayne Pitchford

Co-supervisors: Dr Michelle Hebart | Associate Professor Forbes Brien

Research area: Production animal health; ruminant science

Recommended honours enrolment: Honours in Animal Science

Tagged in Honours projects - Animal science, Honours projects - Wayne Pitchford, Honours projects - Michelle Hebart, Honours projects - Forbes Brien, Honours in Animal Science subtheme - Production animal health