Udder evaluation grid for meat sheepConformation and udder health
Solution name: Udder evaluation grid for meat sheep
Aim: To select ewes on their ability to feed their lambs properly (good quantity/quality milk and easy access for the lamb to the udder). To cull ewes with dysfunctional udders. To identify and predict which ewes are likely to experience lactation problems or mastitis before lambing.
Udder performance is assessed using a scoring grid. This assessment is carried out at three key points in time: a few days before lambing, at lambing with assessment of potential suckling problems, and at weaning. This process requires observation and palpation of the ewes’ udders.
How to implement it:
The assessment can be set up by the farmer or by a technical advisor. Used with a simplified data recording system (flock software/smartphone), this should enable the monitoring of udder conformity on the individual and on the flock.
Animal Category: Adult / Lamb / Replacement
Issue:Mastitis (clinical and subclinical)
Level of Solution: Practical
This should provide better udder conformity in the flock in the long run, reduce the number of udders difficult to suckle and the number of chronic mastitis cases (possible link between certain conformation parameters, such as floor – hock height, and resistance to mastitis), which should result in a better milk production and homogenous lamb growth. The assessment and management of udder health and conformation also helps anticipate lambing difficulties and helps control culling in the herd.
Prerequisites and/or limits:
Experience in palpating the udder to recognise consistency defects is better but not essential as a first approach (the assessment can also be done by comparing animals and/or between both two sides of the udder).
This grid is currently under review and could be simplified.