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Sheep mastitis

In most ewes udder and teat conformation is good, particularly in young ewes and conformation remains reasonable as ewes age. There are some conformations that are particularly susceptible to mastitis, these are pendulous udders, long, thick teats, teats pointing very forward and teats angled horizontally (in dairy sheep) or vertically (in meat sheep). An optimal udder drops to about halfway to the hock, with teats at approximately 4 and 8 o'clock when viewed from behind. See figures below (adapted from Casu et al., 2006).

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Recommendations
  • Udder conformation is moderately heritable, so avoid breeding replacements from ewes with pendulous udders and those with long or thick teats and / or teats that point forward or downward.