Fleece cover was assessed over 10 body regions for nine pure and crossbred combinations of progeny from longwool, short-wool and hair breeds of sheep. Assessments were made between docking and hogget shearing. Visually assessed fleece-cover scores varied by less than 0.35 units within day (P = 0.757) and 0.21 units between days (P = 0.120). Differences of 0.2 units between assessors (P<0.05) were tolerable in a scoring system utilising whole measurement units. The average fleece cover of Wiltshire and Dorper x Wiltshire lambs was 1.14 and 0.92 units less than Coopworth lambs at weaning (P<0.01) but no different at hogget shearing (P = 0.17). The temporary reduction in fleece cover at weaning was attributed to shedding of fibres from the fleece. All breed combinations studied produced between 29 and 67% less fleece than Coopworth hoggets (P<0.001). However, without the ability to synchronously shed their fleece, first generation crossbred progeny required shearing as hoggets.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 63, Queenstown, 160-163, 2003
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