The use of genetic selection as a means of reducing the welfare and production losses caused by gastrointestinal parasites has hitherto been ignored by the UK sheep industry. The aim of this study is to assess the potential for selection for reduced faecal egg count, as an indicator of parasitism, and to establish relationships with live weight.
Faecal egg counts and live weights were measured on approximately 200 predominantly twin born Scottish Blackface lambs each year for three years following natural, predominantly Ostertagia circumcincta , infection on pasture. Measurements were made from one to six months of age, at four week intervals, following anthelmintic treatment. Heritabilities, maternal common environment effects, genetic and phenotypic correlations were calculated using Residual Maximum Likelihood techniques.