Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Relative live weight, fleece weight and reproductive rate of farmed feral sheep (Ovis aries L.).

Abstract

A sample of feral Hokonui, Campbell Island and Raglan sheep were captured after living feral >40 years and managed on North and South Island farms alongside domesticated breeds for 28 years to understand relative performance in various traits. Fleece weight was significantly different (P<0.001) between breeds (Hokonui, 1.48 kg; Campbell Island, 1.50 kg; and Raglan, 2.16 kg), lower than both domesticated Saxon Merino (3.26 kg) and Perendale (3.29 kg) in the North Island. Live weight was significantly different (P<0.001) between flocks (Hokonui, 39.4 kg; Campbell Island, 38.6 kg; and Raglan, 43.0 kg), but intermediate between Saxon Merino (35.5 kg) and Perendale (51.6 kg). Reproductive rate depended on live weight and was also intermediate between the domesticated breeds, being significantly greater in the South Island (P<0.001). Decreased fleece weight was common to farmed feral sheep from three different origins, suggesting this trait may have been an advantage during a feral existence.