Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Published in 3rd World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, edited by Gordon E. Dickerson and Rodger K. Johnson, 4 vols. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 1986). Copyright © 1986 Board of Regents University of Nebraska.


Examples of breeding objectives for sheep industries with well developed breeding programs such as in Australia and New Zealand are reviewed briefly. For industries lacking adequate information on genetic and economic parameters to quantify objectives precisely, some general guidelines for choice of objectives are outlines, and it is suggested that considerable genetic progress can be made in such industries by use of sound objective in choice of breeds, breed combinations or base populations for multiplication. Objectives which it is suggested merit increased attention include: (1) defining optimum litter size and mature size; (2) improving lamb viability; (3) improving longevity and disease resistance; (4) reducing labor requirements (improving easy care traits); (5) improving feed conversion; (6) reducing seasonality of breeding; and (7) reducing variability in litter size. Breeding objectives for goats are discussed briefly.