Getting Parentage Right
Getting parentage right is very important in any breeding program. We take a lot of care and try our best. Lambing in the barn has it's challenges, one of them is that ewes do not have the room to distance themselves from other ewes and can lead to mismothering where lambs are assigned to the wrong ewe. All four the cameras we have in the barn record video and we can go back and review the recordings if we have any doubts who the real mother is.
We got an opportunity to validate our process when we participated in a study from 2018 to 2019 lead by Dr. Joan Burke where 410 of our lambs and sires very genotyped over that two year period. As part of the output of that project we got parentage validation on our lambs. Out of the 410 samples only 4 had discrepancies (0.976%) related to parentage assignment at lambing (not counting two blood samples we mislabeled when submitting for genotyping).
We feel pretty good about a less than 1% parentage error, we believe we can still do better, we are working on it.