The objective of the present study was to estimate genetic parameters for body weights at different ages and litter size (LS) in Moghani sheep. Traits included were birth weight (BW), 3 months weight (3MW), 6 months weight (6MW), 9 months weight (9MW), yearling weight (YW) and LS. The data of 6659 lambing records and pedigree information used in the current programme were collected at the Breeding Station of Moghani sheep (Ardebil province, Iran) during 1987–2005. Different linear and threshold animal models with additive genetic, maternal genetic, maternal permanent environmental and residual effects were implemented by Gibbs sampling (GS) methodology. A single GS chain with 150 000 rounds was generated by the MTGSAM program. The posterior means of genetic parameters were estimated based on the 1300 samples that were left after elimination of 20 000 rounds in the burn-in period and 100 rounds of each thinning interval. Posterior mean estimates of direct heritability were 0·29, 0·13, 0·14, 0·10, 0·31 and 0·10, while those of maternal heritabilities were 0·29, 0·08, 0·11, 0·06, 0·10 and 0·17 for BW, 3MW, 6MW, 9MW, YW and LS, respectively. Genetic correlations among the growth traits and LS were negative for direct genetic and maternal genetic effects. Therefore, selection for increased growth or LS may have a negative genetic effect on the other traits. The medium to high negative estimates of direct–maternal correlations for body weight traits or LS suggest that it would be difficult to improve direct and maternal growth ability jointly for Moghani sheep.