Premature loss of wool from fleece casting prior to shearing is a problem in some sheep genotypes, in particular in the North Country Cheviot. The reasons for this ocurrence are not fully understood, but it is believed that it is due to a complex of factors including heredity, nutritional and managerial (stress) practices, the wool growth cycle, and physiological parameters such as pregnancy. Prolonged stress is reported to be particularly important in the case of wool slip in ewes which are housed and shorn (Morgan et al, 1986).
The present study aimed to investigate the incidence of visible fleece casting in the North Country Cheviot (NCC), Scotch Halfbred (HB) (Border Leicester x NCC), and Border Leicester (BL), which has no history of premature wool loss. The study was implemented on 8 commercial farms in Scotland, and links between key productive parameters and wool loss were studied, and an attempt to identify fleece types most liable to cast was also made.