Poll Dorset x Romney cross lambs (n = 80) were allocated according to sex (ewe, ram) and liveweight to either shorn or unshorn treatments. Pelts were recovered at slaughter, processed to dyed crust leather and scored for visual traits. At the pickled pelt stage, shorn lambs exhibited lower grain strain scores in the main panel (2.4 vs 4.3, P = 0.01). Rib score (2.3 vs 1.9, P = 0.014) was greater for shorn lambs. The fat score of ewe skins was higher (2.6 vs 1.9, P<0.001) and they produced thicker leathers (0.85 vs 0.79 mm, P = 0.025) with more delamination (2.6 vs 2.2, P = 0.004). While shearing risks scarring the pelt, there are trade-offs with other faults in the pelts of shorn or unshorn lambs. The decision on whether to shear lambs or not should be based on the relative costs of the faults.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 58, , 224-227, 1998
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