Effect of Shearing Frequency on Animal Stress

Fox, Dylan
Western Sydney University


The following is a summary submitted with the application. It will be updated when the student’s abstract/thesis is received.

The project will seek to determine how the number of times a sheep is shorn – once or twice per year—will affect animal mobility, and thus animal stress. A mob of maiden ewes from a producer in Catti, NSW will be allocated a sheering treatment, with half being shorn once, and the remaining ewes shorn twice. It is hypothesized that the latter group will be more mobile as a result of carrying less fleece and thus lead to more sustainable production and an elevated wool quality over time. Additionally, the mobility of all ewes will be assessed via the use of a wireless ear tag that will track animal movements across their paddock and reveal the benefits of a higher shearing frequency. Their stress will be determined using the GPS data collected as well as measuring sheep fleece for cortisol — the stress hormone – in the WSU Stress Lab.