Reproductive rate is affected by the age of ewes at sexual maturity, their lambing frequency and rate, the survival of their lambs, and the length of their productive life. Of these, fertility, litter size, and lamb survival have the greatest impact on net reproductive rate. Heritability estimates for such traits are in general low (less than 0.10), suggesting gains from selection will be slow. Despite this, the importance of reproductive traits on lamb output compels their inclusion in breeding programs.
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