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Experimental Fleece-Removal with Bioclip® Wool-Harvesting System for Merino-derived Wool Sheep in the US

Tumen Wuliji
Lincoln University of Missouri, Cooperative Research, Jefferson City, MO 65102, USA
Department of Animal Biotechnology, University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557, USA
Abstract—The objective of this trial is to evaluate the efficacy of a biological wool-harvesting system, Bioclip®, as an alternative to the mechanical shearing of wool sheep. Twenty-six 10-month-old ewes were selected for a Bioclip® shearing comparison experiment. Ewes were weighed and stratified by body weight and breed, and then, divided into a control (conventional shearing, n = 10) and Bioclip® treatment group (n = 16). Treatment group animals were each given a 2.5 ml Bioclip® injection formula (7.5 mg/ml epidermal growth factor or EGF) subcutaneously on the inguinal bare skin area, after which a fleece retention net was placed on each animal. Sheep were fed alfalfa hay for 1 week prior to the Bioclip® injection, and 4 weeks postinjection under a semi-sheltered pen, until fleece removal at the 28th day, with wool regrowth monitoring at 5 weeks postharvest. Posttreatment wool regrowth monitoring was conducted and compared for the control and Bioclip® groups at 5 weeks post wool harvesting. There was no difference in the posttreatment body weight, fleece weight, weight gain, fiber diameter, and wool regrowth rate between the control and Bioclip® treatment group. Whereas, fleece staple length and regrowth fiber length measured significantly (P < 0.01) longer for Bioclip®-harvested wool than conventionally shorn sheep. This was the first time Bioclip® was used experimentally on US wool sheep and resulted in a simultaneous and complete shedding of fleeces. The results suggest that Bioclip® can improve wool clip quality and animal welfare as well as reduce farm labor intensity. 
 
Index Terms—wool sheep, fleece, Bioclip®, shearing

Cite: Tumen Wuliji, "Experimental Fleece-Removal with Bioclip® Wool-Harvesting System for Merino-derived Wool Sheep in the US," Journal of Advanced Agricultural Technologies, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 133-138, June 2019. Doi: 10.18178/joaat.6.2.133-138
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