Growth, fertility, prolificacy and fleece weight of Romanov, Finnsheep and Booroola purebreds and their first cross and backcross with the DLS breed

Fahmy, M.H.

Animal Science 62(3): 479-487


DOI: 10.1017/s1357729800015010
Accession: 002855877

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Records were collected on Romanov (R), Finnsheep (F), and Booroola Merino (B); first cross; and backcrosses of these breeds with a new synthetic breed of Dorset, Leicester and Suffolk (DLS), The data covered the period from the birth of ewes to weaning of their progeny. The heaviest lambs at birth were the B backcross and R first and backcrosses (4.1 to 4.0 kg) and the lightest were pure R (3.0 kg). The fastest pre-weaning average daily gain was that of R crosses. R purebreds were more fertile (109%, P lt 0.01) than F (81%) and B (62%). They were also more prolific at birth and at weaning (2.44, 2.13) than F (2.04, 1.71, P lt 0.01) and B (2.36, 2.09, P gt 0.05) purebreds, respectively. Similarly, first-cross R ewes were more prolific than first-crosses of F and B (1.99 v 1.86 and 1.70), also backcross R ewes were more prolific than backcrosses of F and B (1.63 v. 1.45 and 1.42, P gt 0.05), respectively. R first-cross ewes had heavier litters (6.31 and 26.1 kg) than B (5.17 and 20.3 kg, P lt 0.01) and F (5.52 and 24.4 kg) at birth and at day 50. The lambs born to DLS ewes were the heaviest at birth and at day 50 compared with those from prolific ewes. Fleece weight in B and its crosses was significantly higher than in R. Crosses showed generally positive heterotic effect in weights, prolificacy and wool production compared with pure breeds. In two data sets, additive direct effect of R was higher than that of F at birth (by 0.11 and 0.10 kg) and at day 50 (by 0.57 and 0 kg) but was similar at day 100 and day 365. The additive direct effect of both R and F was non-significantly different to that of B at birth in both data sets, but in only one data set was it higher (P lt 0.001) at day 50 (by 2.29 and 1.72 kg), at day 100 (by 5.24 and 5.30 kg) and at day 365 (by 8.7 and 8.4 kg, respectively). Maternal direct effects of R was higher (P lt 0.05) than F in lamb weights at day 1 and 50, and higher than B in lamb weight at day 50. Individual heterosis between both R and F and DLS were -3.7 and -3.6% in weight at birth, 1.46 and 2.09% in weight at day 50 respectively. The corresponding maternal heterosis were, -2.9, -5.2, 1.46 and -0.02%.