Qs about extra nipples

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Handspinner, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. Handspinner

    Handspinner New Member

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    My tale of woe is that I am from a dairy goat background and I had no idea extra nipples was something you had to check on sheep. I bought a pair of rare breed sheep and it turns out they both have extra nipples. I need more info. Am I freaking out for no reason? It isn't mentioned in the breed standard. What problems do they cause? Is this trait dominant or recessive? If it is dominant I can breed it out but if it is recessive I'll never get rid of it! I am feeling pretty bummed out about my sheep. I can't afford to buy new ones. I really wanted to be able to produce breeding stock some day. But that isn't looking too likely now. This breed has an open registry so I have two ewes and a ram I can use with them that have the right number. I would appreciate any advise. Thanks.
     
  2. Rectifier

    Rectifier Well-Known Member

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    How big are they? If small enough they are of no concern for suckling. Many of my ewes have them. If they are big then lambs can get confused but it's not a big issue if the ewe has any mothering ability at all.

    I chop them off at birth when they occur in my lambs. A quick snip with the scissors and your replacements will only have 2 teats. Fine for commercial production but of course doesn't fix the genetics for those hoping to sell breeding stock.

    They seem to be a "mostly" dominant trait but size varies and they can pop up in later generations suggesting multiple genes are in play. You may beat yourself up trying to breed it out so if this concerns you too much I would try to replace the sheep.
     

  3. crittermomma

    crittermomma Well-Known Member

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    A couple of my commercial girls have extra teats - and they are my best mothers. I have had no issues so far with my girls having extra teats. You could remove them at birth as Rectifier mentioned above - I do not. So far, the people I sell to aren't too concerned about it. Good luck with your sheep!
     
  4. Handspinner

    Handspinner New Member

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    They are very small. I think I have decided to use the pair for breeding up but to only keep ewe lambs from them. I have a half bred ram I can use on those ewe lambs. I wouldn't need to get a new ram for three to five years and would look for a new purebred. I am hoping that if I breed to normal rams for two generations that I can bury it and I'll only get the occasional lamb with this trait instead of most of them having it. I know it would be better to start over with different sheep. But I either use these sheep or I go with crossbreds. Thanks for the advise. I really appreciate it.
     
  5. crittermomma

    crittermomma Well-Known Member

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    What is your breed of sheep?
     
  6. Handspinner

    Handspinner New Member

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    I have Harlequins. I didn't pay a lot for them though. I got a two year old ram and a four year old ewe. I did drive a long way to get them but I would have been really upset if I had payed nearly $2,000 for them! Otherwise, I like them a lot. The ram has nice conformation and the type of wool I want. The ewe is 23 inches at the shoulder and I just sheared a six pound fleece from her. I was very pleased with that and her fleece is lovely.
     
  7. crittermomma

    crittermomma Well-Known Member

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    I had to Google Harlequin sheep - they are a very pretty breed! I like the different colors. I wanted a breed I didn't have to shear - so, I went with Katahdins. Best of luck with your sheep!
     
  8. Willowdale

    Willowdale Well-Known Member

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    My Awassi tend to have extra nipples. It doesn't affect their milking ability at all, and their lambs don't have any trouble figuring it out - great weight gain. Unless there's a breed standard you have to worry about for showing, I wouldn't worry about it.