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A description of the growth of sheep

  • R.M. Lewis (a1), G.C. Emmans (a1), G. Simm (a1), W.S. Dingwall (a1) and J. FitzSimons (a1)...


The idea that an animal of a given kind has, and grows to, a final or mature size is a useful one and several equations have been proposed that describe such growth to maturity (Winsor, 1932; Parks, 1982; Taylor, 1982). The Gompertz is one of these growth functions and describes in a comparatively simple, single equation the sigmoidal pattern of growth. It has 3 parameters, only 2 of which are important - mature size A and the rate parameter B. Estimates of A and B, however, are highly correlated. Considering A and B as a lumped parameter (AB) may overcome this problem. A Gompertz, or any other, growth function is not expected to describe all growth curves. When the environment (e.g., feed, housing) is non-limiting, it may provide a useful and succinct description of growth. The objectives of this study were to examine: (i) if the Gompertz equation adequately describes the growth of two genotypes of sheep under conditions designed to be non-limiting; and, (ii) if the lumped parameter AB has more desirable properties for estimation than A and B separately.



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Parks, J.R. 1982. A Theory of Feeding and Growth of Animals. Berlin, Springer-Verlag.
Simm, G. and Dingwall, W. S. 1989. Selection indices for lean meat production in sheep. Livestock Production Science 21: 223233.
Taylor, St. C.S. 1980. Genetic size-scaling rules in animal growth. Animal Production 30:161165.
Winsor, C.P. 1932. The Gompertz curve as a growth curve. Proceedings National Academy Science 18:18.

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A description of the growth of sheep

  • R.M. Lewis (a1), G.C. Emmans (a1), G. Simm (a1), W.S. Dingwall (a1) and J. FitzSimons (a1)...


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