My Honours Project by Elise Wyld
SRUC Edinburgh student Elise Wyld has just completed her Honours Project as part of the Applied Animal Science BSc. Elise shares the topic she chose and the help she received from SRUC to complete her Honours Project.
My honours project looked at ‘Lambing ease predictor traits in terminal sire breeds using CT scanning’ and utilised data from SRUC’s CT scanning unit and help from the Breeding and Genomics department.
Lambing ease is a growing concern in the UK terminal sire breeding which have high rates of lamb and ewe mortality which is a health and welfare issue as well as a financial burden on farmers.
In this project I was able to determine that lambing ease predictor traits were significantly different between the three most popular terminal breeds in the UK : Texel, Suffolk, and Charollais.
Two main aspects of lambing difficulties were considered by looking at:
- lamb measurements of shoulder width and hip width
- ewe measurements of pelvic dimensions (width, depth, area) and pelvic angle
The ability to take scanned measurements and make predictions on that sire’s progeny will allow to guide farmers and breeders to select the best breed and ram for their system, improve welfare, efficiency and lamb survival.
SRUC resources and staff made this project possible and interesting by allowing me to access data from past studies and looking at it from a new perspective of improving animal welfare. Our year tutor Dr Carol Thompson and my honours supervisor Dr Nicola Lambe was able to guide me through my project from the focus to planning and statistical analysis. This was particularly interesting as it combined many aspects from modules of the last 4 years: animal health and welfare, livestock production, IT skills, and my writing skills which I have been improving through coursework.
Find out about the Applied Animal Science course at SRUC, visit www.sruc.ac.uk/animalscience