The importance of recording the correct genetic dam to a lamb that has been fostered off can not be stressed enough. It is so important in the contribution to genetic evaluations ran on the genetic ewe as well as the foster ewe in which the extra lamb has been fostered onto. Generally foster ewes are ewes that have had a single lamb or have rejected one of her twin lambs. Foster lambs are lambs that come from a set of triplet, quadruplets or quintuplets. In the cases of quadruplets and quintuplets, usually one/two of these lambs end up being bottle reared (pet lamb). When looking at the genetic evaluation perspective, the foster ewes is given credit for rearing two lambs even though she has only given birth to one. Whereas the genetic dam is evaluated on only rearing one lamb only if given birth to two lambs. Recording this important information ensures genetic evaluations are more accurate.
In the below Video, Sheep Ireland’s Eamon Wall explains exactly why it is so important to record fostering and pet lamb information. Eamon is on one of Sheep Ireland’s CPT farms of John Large, Gortnahoe, Co. Tipperary.