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Visual sheep scores

The key to managing flystrike is to reduce the susceptibility of the flock.

To download the latest version of the Visual Scores Guide click here to be redirected to the website or download your copy below.

The Visual Sheep Scores Guide, Version 2 - 2013, (developed by Sheep Genetics—a joint initiative between MLA & AWI) provides a standard method for assessing and describing a range of visual traits in sheep, including wrinkle and fleece rot. Evaluating the flock using these guidelines is easy and low cost. An assessment of wrinkle score will provide an indication of breech strike risk. For body strike risk, score sheep for fleece rot.

DownloadVisual Sheep Scores Guide Version 2 - 2013 (8 MB)

Wrinkle and fleece rot scores are shown here as examples from the Visual Sheep Scores, as they are the most important risk factors for flystrike. The points below will take you to more detail on these and the other traits that can be scored when breeding for flystrike resistance.

The guide also includes many other wool and conformation scores. 

Visual Scoring

Visual scoring provides an assessment of the susceptibility of the flock for both breech and body strike.

With this information you can;

  • develop a breeding objective to improve traits in the future
  • develop a selection strategy to implement the breeding objective
  • develop a management strategy to control flystrike

The most suitable time to assess sheep for visual traits depends on the trait and the class of sheep.

Stock                             Trait                                       Most suitable time to assess
Lambs Breech wrinkle Lamb marking
Mulesed sheep Body and neck wrinkle Off shears
Adult sheep Fleece rot

After a period of challenge (e.g. prolonged rain)

6 months of age or older

4 months or more of wool growth

If ewes are not mulesed it is preferable to delay scoring until an older age as long as this can be done off shears and fit with the overall selection strategy.

When sheep are in the yards use the Visual Sheep Scores Version 2, 2013 and Flock Scoring Chart to score a visual trait on a random sample of sheep.

  • If there are less than 50 sheep—assess the entire mob
  • For mobs between 50 and 500—assess 50 sheep
  • For mobs over 500—assess 10% of the mob

Flock Scoring Chart

This is a page where you can record fleece rot and wrinkle scores for your sheep (you can also use the same chart to score other traits).

  • Record the score of each sheep with an X in the flock scoring chart in the column corresponding to the trait and score.
  • Start from the bottom of the column of the relevant score and work up.
  • The result will show a ditribution graph of the scores for the sample of your flock that were scored.
  • Sample at least 50 sheep or 10 % of the mob.
  • Detailed instructions are on the downloadable file.