Ewe mothering ability is a trait that could potentially reduce the labour requirement or time spent per ewe. Differences exist among sire groups in the prevalence of poor ewe mothering ability with the progeny of some sires demonstrating greater ewe mothering ability than others. This trait has been included in the 2023 genetic evaluation.
A key challenge in sheep systems is the labour requirement. Lambing accounts for over 25% of the labour requirement across the sheep farming year; more than double the labour required at any other key time point (e.g., weaning, mating etc.). Therefore any measure that could potentially reduce the labour required or time spent per ewe at lambing should be considered. Ewe mothering ability is a subjective measure of the ewes behaviour towards her lamb(s) and is scored on a five point scale where 1=very poor (i.e., the ewe shows no interest in her lamb(s)) and 5=very good (i.e., the ewe is very protective, licks the lamb(s) immediately, follows lamb(s) closely and bleats for the lamb(s)).
Ewe mothering-ability is a trait that can be easily recorded on the Website and the LambPlus App along with other important traits at lambing time. See the table below for a description of how to accurately record ewe mothering-ability. This is an extremely y important trait that all farmers desire to have in abundance in their ewes.
Recording of Ewe Milk is the measuring of how milky a ewe is at lambing time. Below is a description of the scoring system for Ewe Milk, it goes from one (very poor milk) to five (lots of milk) based mostly on the size of the udder. This should be done within 24 hours of the ewe lambing and giving her sufficient time for her milk to drop.
Lambing time is responsible for a large proportion of labour requirements throughout the sheep farming year.