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Parasite Immunology Lab

Fecal Egg Count EBV Development

funded by Hatch-WVU00714-Improving parasite resistance in Texel sheep

Breeding values are genetic predictors of animal performance. By incorporating individual performance data along with pedigree data and trait heritability, estimated breeding values (EBVs) can be calculated as a measure of genetic merit. These breeding values can then be used as a selection tool for genetically superior individuals.

Fecal egg counts can be used as an indicator of parasite resistance. Lower fecal egg counts are indicative of lower worm burden. Fecal egg counts are moderately heritability. Consequently, genetic progress can be made through selection at a similar rate as seen with growth traits. Breed sheep with lower fecal egg counts; reduce fecal egg counts in subsequent generations. By selecting for sheep with reduced fecal egg counts, we can improve the parasite resistance of our flocks and reduced the need for dewormer use.

The Katahdin breed has been on the forefront of this FEC EBV development. With a large breed size and substantial submission of fecal egg counts to the genetic evaluation, accurate FEC EBVs have been generated and selection has made rapid progress. We want to do the same for the Texel breed! But we need your participation. To increase the number of Texel fecal egg counts in the NSIP database, we are offering free processing of fecal samples for all Texel producers. We ask producers already enrolled in NSIP to submit those fecal counts for generation of EBVs. Those producers not enrolled we encourage to get enrolled and begin genetic evaluation in their flock. Fecal egg counts can be collected at weaning or post weaning (120-150 d) time points. Generally, lambs need to be on pasture for several weeks in warm weather conditions in order to generate sufficient infection for accurate evaluation. 

FEC Submission Form

This form includes information regarding sample collection.

NSIP Submission Guide

The NSIP Submission Guide has more information about submitting your lamb data for genetic evaluation and breeding value determination. In addition, you will find information regarding genetic selection and putting those EBVs to use in your flock.