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Gang of lambs
Which lamb is the best?

Thor, 5 days old

Males grow faster than females

twin lambs


Single ram lamb

Singles grow faster than twins

 Triplets
Triplets don't grow as fast as twins

 Yearling mother
Yearlings don't produce as
much milk as mature ewes

 11 year old ewe
Production is less for ewes over 6

Weighing lambs
Weighing lambs

 

Calculating Adjusted Weaning Weights

To be used properly in selection, all records need to be adjusted to a common basis. Growth measures such as weaning weight need to be adjusted for sex of lamb, type of birth/rearing, lamb age, and age of dam.

Calculating Age-Corrected Weaning Weights

The first step is to adjust weaning weights to a common day of age. For lambs that are weaned at less than 75 days of age (on-average), 60-day weaning weights should be calculated. For lambs weaned over 75 days of age, 90-day weaning weights should be calculated. To do this, you need to determine the lamb's pre-weaning average daily gain (ADG).

Pre-weaning ADG
Pre-weaning ADG = (weaning weight - birth weight) / weaning age

Pre-weaning ADG is used to predict the weight of the lamb at the common age of weaning, usually 60, 90, or 120 days, depending upon the production system.

Age-corrected weaning weight
Age-corrected weaning weight = (pre-weaning ADG x 60 d) + birth weight

If birth weights are not known, pre-weaning weight per day of age (WDA) can be used instead of pre-weaning ADG

Pre-weaning WDA = weaning weight / weaning age

Age-corrected weaning weight = WDA x 60


Adjusted weaning weights

Once you determine the age-corrected weaning weight, you need to adjust it for the sex of the lamb, age of its dam, and type of birth and rearing. The table below gives the appropriate adjustment factors.

Adjusted weaning weight = age-corrected weight x adjustment factor


ADJUSTMENT FACTORS

The following table gives multiplicative adjustment factors to correct for the effects of sex, age of dam, and type of birth and rearing on lamb weaning weights.

Sex of
Lamb  
Age of Dam
Type of birth and rearing
1, 1
1, 2
2, 1
2, 2
3+, 1
3+, 2
3+, 3
Ewe   
1
1.14
1.30
1.27
1.37
1.36
1.46
1.56
2
1.06
1.21
1.18
1.27
1.26
1.36
1.45
3-6
1.00
1.14
1.11
1.20
1.19
1.28
1.37
7 +
1.04
1.19
1.15
1.25
1.24
1.33
1.42
Ram   
1
1.04
1.18
1.15
1.24
1.23
1.33
1.42
2
0.96
1.10
1.07
1.16
1.15
1.23
1.32
3-6
0.91
1.04
1.01
1.09
1.08
1.16
1.25
7 +
0.95
1.08
1.05
1.14
1.13
1.21
1.30
Wether   
1
1.11
1.26
1.23
1.33
1.32
1.42
1.51
2
1.03
1.21
1.14
1.23
1.22
1.32
1.41
3-6
0.97
1.11
1.08
1.16
1.15
1.24
1.33
7 +
1.01
1.15
1.12
1.21
1.20
1.29
1.38
Source: Sheep Production Handbook


Here are some examples of adjusted weaning weight calculations.

Example #1
Determine the 60-day adjusted weaning weight of a ewe lamb with a birth weight of 8 lbs. and a weaning weight of 68 lbs. at 70 days of age. She was born and raised as a twin. Her dam is 2 years old.

      1. Pre-weaning ADG = (68 - 8) / 70 = 0.857 lbs./day
      2. Age-corrected weaning weight = (0.857 x 60 d) + 8 = 59.4 lbs
      3. Adjustment factor for a ewe lamb, born and reared as a twin, out of a 2 year old
        dam is 1.27 (see table)
      4. Adjusted 60-day weaning weight = 59.4 x 1.27 = 75.5 lbs.

Example #2
Determine the 60-day adjusted weaning weight of a ewe lamb with a birth weight of 12 lbs. and a weaning weight of 85 lbs. at 75 days of age. She was born and raised as a single. Her dam is 5 years old.

      1. Pre-weaning ADG = (85 - 12) / 75 = 1.04 lbs/day
      2. Age Corrected weaning weight = (0.97 x 60 d) + 12 = 70.4 lbs
      3. Adjustment factor for a ewe lamb, born and reared as a twin, out of a 2 year old
        dam is 1.00 (see table)
      4. Adjusted 60-day weaning weight = 70.4 x 1.00 = 70.4 lbs.

If you had only looked at actual weaning weights, you would have favored the second ewe lamb in your selection program. However, the first ewe lamb has superior performance and is the genetically superior choice.


If data is available, adjustment factors can be determined for individual breeds. The following table gives the multiplicative adjustment factors for Katahdin sheep.

Sex of
Lamb  
Age of Dam
Type of birth and rearing
1, 1
1, 2
2, 1
2, 2
3+, 1
3+, 2
3+, 3
Ewe   
1
1.17
1.43
1.31
1.49
1.35
1.60
1.81
2
1.03
1.23
1.13
1.27
1.17
1.30
1.45
3-6
1.00
1.14
1.05
1.17
1.08
1.23
1.38
7 +
1.01
1.20
1.10
1.23
1.13
1.25
1.44
Ram   
1
1.06
1.30
1.29
1.36
1.23
1.46
1.65
2
0.94
1.12
1.03
1.16
1.06
1.18
1.32
3-6
0.91
1.04
0.96
1.06
0.98
1.12
1.26
7 +
0.92
1.09
1.00
1.12
1.03
1.14
1.31
Wether   
1
1.12
1.37
1.26
1.43
1.30
1.54
1.74
2
0.99
1.18
1.08
1.22
1.12
1.25
1.39
3-6
0.96
1.09
1.01
1.12
1.04
1.18
1.32
7 +
0.97
1.15
1.06
1.18
1.08
1.20
1.38
Source: Katahdin Hair Sheep International



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Late updated 17-Jul-2011 by Susan Schoenian.
Copyright© 2011. Sheep 101 and 201.