Every girl knows a new haircut is sometimes all you need to get your mojo back, but a new study has found it works for sheep too!
Researchers at The University of Queensland have found that pregnant ewes that are shorn twice, instead of just once during their pregnancy, have lower stress levels and produce lambs with finer wool.
“There’s been anecdotal evidence that shearing ewes early in their pregnancy resulted in higher wool productivity, but we wanted to see how it affected the animal,” the university’s Dr Edward Narayan said.
“While shearing is an acutely stressful activity for the animal, our study reveals that it significantly reduces the ewe’s long-term stress,” he said.
“The evidence was in the wool itself.”
Researchers analysed wool samples to determine cortisol levels in the sheep.
“After analysing our samples it was immediately clear that pregnant ewes sheared twice had significantly lower cortisol levels in their wool over time, Dr Narayan said.
Not only were the ewes less stressed but their lambs produced better quality wool.
“This is a win-win for farmers and sheep, and we’re hoping that this practice will become standard across the industry.”
Supporting Australia’s universities might just bring ewe shear happiness – sign the petition to Keep It Clever now.