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Parrot Mouth

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holliterman36Posted 04/10/12 11:23PM Send a private email to holliterman36. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
Has it ever been genetically linked? How heritable is this trait? Have you ever kept a ewe lamb, that besides her parrot mouth, was exceptional? Did you notice a higher chance of it popping up in her offspring? What about bred a buck that was parrot mouth, did his offspring show a higher percentage of parrot mouth lambs?


AZChampPosted 04/10/12 11:30PM Send a private email to AZChamp. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM

Did have a ewe that was parrot mouth pretty extreme. She lived to be 6 years old, and spent all of it on pasture, grazing just fine. Her lambs did,however, all have parrot mouth too--some more extreme some years. If I'm not mistaken, it is a very heritable trait on either side. Someone with more genetic experience may correct me.

holliterman36Posted 04/10/12 11:39PM Send a private email to holliterman36. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
Thanks Stacia, I've heard both ways so I just wanted a few more opinions from people that have dealt with it. I have also talked with a breeder that bred a parrot mouth buck and he said the large majority of lambs were not parrot mouth.. This gene confuses me.

Sheepherder007Posted 04/11/12 07:55AM Send a private email to Sheepherder007. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
First generation does not seem to be as much of a problem. Second and third generations see increasing incidents. There was a lot of this tracing back to popular genetics and I have been to a sale with a concentration of these genetics and found 50% of the ewe lambs in the sale with parrot mouth. Was not looking at wethers, so cannot say what their frequency was.
Currently have a ewe with these genetics and she has lambed 7 times here with 8 parrot mouth lambs out of 14. She is not a parrot mouth but her sire was. Any time we have tried to line up her genetics we have gotten parrot mouth twins.
I have one parrot ewe lamb this year and it is out of the only daughter of the original ewe and one of the original ewes lambs is a parrot wether this year,
I like that "large majority" claim as that leaves the door pretty wide open.

kciDPosted 04/11/12 08:23AM Send a private email to kciD. Changed 04/11/12 08:25AM
Parrot mouth also intrigues me in terms of its genetic linkage. I most of the time believe there are two kinds of parrot and/ or monkey mouth genes—one genetic- one environmental birth defect. The monkey mouth deal though- is supposed to be sex linked—I tend to agree. I do not believe that the genetically linked Parrot mouth is a very strong breeder on in the first generation- and I don’t think it breeds true- meaning not like a simple dom/ rec trait like spiders—either have it or don’t. I think it’s genetic- but does not have to come from both sides of the pedigree. It’s a nasty thing that will just randomly pop up, every so often in most cases.

In 2008, we had a tremendous ewe lamb born- thinking back and counting about the number of lambs we had- I would say this ewe lamb was in the top 2 or 3% of the lamb crop that year- she was by far the best lamb quality wise- born in her age break. She was a terribly bad parrot mouthed sheep though. Prior to her being born- I had only ever had one PURCHASED ewe line produce parrot mouthed lambs—and very quickly they were culled out—and not again did I have a parrot mouth lamb born. I called that linkage genetic. This lamb that was born in ’08- was from a completely outcross ram- and a female of mine that was very strongly line bred. I have always believed that her parrot mouthed-ness was linked to being birth defect as I know for a fact that her mother was dewormed with Valbazen right before going to Louisville to show as a bred yearling in Nov of 07. I thought enough of my ’08 ewe lamb that I took her to a very competitive National Junior Show to exhibit- It had been several years since I’d seen some judges actually mouth a sheep in a breeding show- and it’s not uncommon for them to miss a lamb or several while going down the line. Much like I had thought- he did not notice her parrot mouth until we were left standing in the final 3 or 4 (out of 15 or so) on the side profile- when I must have let my guard slip—and I quit hiding her mouth with my arm. At that point, it was obvious she was off in the mouth—and he took me all the way down into last place- 3rd to 15th. I’ll never forget the number of people wondering what had gone on in that class- I still have people asking me today why he dumped my good ewe lamb that day—I just reply—“not sure”.

Anyways, also in ’08 a friend of mine AI’d 25 ewes to the grandsire (sire of the outcross sire), and it is a known fact that parrot mouth does run through that line slightly—and he did get 2 or 3 short jawed lambs that spring. That ram was not outcross to him though- as he produced and sold that ram before getting semen back out of the deal. But because his ewes were of a different breed than mine- there was no genetic linkage on the bottom side, or in the rest of the pedigree for that matter- and because the dam of my parrot lamb- was such a line bred individual- I’m positive that I would have seen more, or atleast one more parrot mouthed lamb over the years.

I kept that ’08 ewe- and she had a single ewe lamb in ‘09, and twin ram lambs in ’10—all three normal- and all three linebred back. She died that summer during the heat spell that we had—she just heat stroked on me—She always maintained her flesh quite well—and I think that summer she had lambed a little later—and wasn’t completely over the stress of weaning when the heat hit. She just got weak on me, and never got up again.
Her ’09 daughter lambed in ’11 for me with twin ewe lambs (line bred back to my stuff again), and this spring again with twin ewe lambs (1/4 outcross)- the first two were fine- but both this year were short jawed. Now, with that said, this spring’s ewe lambs were sired by a ram I had raised from a 100% outcross ewe- of very similar genetics to my friend’s flock mentioned above. This ewe is a ¾ sister to the mother of the ram above that is known to produce parrot mouthed lambs. Also as an interesting note: I bred that ram’s mother back for a full sibling this spring- and as a 10 year old ewe- she produced her first parrot mouthed lamb in Jan of 2012= a full brother to the sire of the two ewe lambs born parrot mouth- from the daughter of the parrot mouthed ’08 ewe.

What I’m getting at: it’s obvious to me that this lineage of sheep of my friend’s has parrot mouth in their genes. What’s odd is that my line of ewes are extremely line bred- full, ¾, 7/8 sibling matings, half bro/ sis matings, sire/ daughter, mother/ son- etc…. and not once in this span of doing all of this have I ever got a parrot mouthed lamb born—but when I take those sheep and put them to the known carrier line—I can get them… This makes me wonder, and believe that parrot mouth is a gene that does not have to be transferred in 2 copies to the offspring- and once you have it—it’s around for good until you cull the entire line… and at any time, it can flair up and be expressed.

Again, I stress that on my line bred ewes who are not related to this partial outcross line—I have never experienced a parrot mouthed lamb, in lambing as many as 80 ewe a year. Other than the sire of the ’08 parrot mouth ewe lamb- I have never bred with another 100% outcross ram in the last 10 years- and I only bred one ewe to this ram- the mother of the parrot mouthed ewe lamb. In addition, I have not used a ram of more than 25% outcross on more than 2 ewes during the last 6 years. So, my point—our sheep are extremely linebred. My current ram lineup has 6 rams in it- all 6 homebred- the old ram- 2 sons of his, 2 grandsons, a son of one of the grandson. I have two purchased, 100% outcross ewes- and a handful (2-5) of half outcross ewes- everything else is lined up tight (45 ewes total).

To make it simpler for you who might not be able to see the pedigree linkage I talked about above:

’08 parrot mouth ewe lamb was
(Sire A 100% outcross (BxC) x Dam D (very linebred)

’12 parrot mouth ewe lambs:
(Sire D 50% outcross (Mother is a paternal 3/4 sister to the dam of sire B and a ¾ sister to the dam of Sire A)
(Dam is a daughter of the ’08 parrot mouth ewe, but sired by a linebred ram (bred nearly identical to her (08’s) dam)

’12 parrot mouth ram lamb- full brother to Sire D (sire of parrot mouthed ewe lambs in ’12)

ETA: SH07 was typing as I was-- and I agree with the comment on skipping a generation.

holliterman36Posted 04/11/12 02:12PM Send a private email to holliterman36. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
So everyone would agree to not breed a parrot mouth buck? But some have kept parrot mouth ewes? Have heard a lot of feeders like feeding PM wethers. What are your thoughts on breeding a PM buck?

CullenPosted 04/11/12 02:51PM Send a private email to Cullen. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
We had PM issues several years ago. Once we eliminated those genetics no more PM. While I would not eliminate PM ewes from the flock, I would consider their off-spring terminal. I suppose if a breeder had sufficient ewes to designate all offspring of a REALLY GOOD PM buck terminal, he could be used. Small flock breeders with fewer ewe lambs from which to select keepers should probably avoid using a PM buck. As far as a PM market lambs, as long as they can eat out of a feeder... feed'em and show'em!

kciDPosted 04/11/12 03:04PM Send a private email to kciD. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
with today's genetic selections... and hidden flaws...

I wouldn't waste my time using something with a known, positive flaw.

I have ever only kept 1 PM female-- cuz she was a stud, the rest have been ate.

The only advantage I can see with feeding their PM wethers-- is initial purchasing price being cheaper.

PeteMPosted 04/11/12 05:17PM Send a private email to PeteM. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
If I remember right there was a slightly PM buck that dropped some really nice lambs for about 3 Okie breeders a few years ago.

sweetmtn1Posted 04/11/12 10:32PM Send a private email to sweetmtn1. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
What would you say about a ewe that lambed at age 8, never had a PM lamb, bred to the same ram each year, and suddenly here is one PM lamb? What are the odds, and where would it have come from? I would think in 7 years of breeding the same pair, it would have shown up before this? Is this genetic or environmental?

kciDPosted 04/12/12 07:49AM Send a private email to kciD. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
I call it enviromental= due to some plant being consumed at a certain point of preg, a shot being administered, or something else...

Which is why I consider there being two kinds of PM defects... genetic and enviromental.

Sheepherder007Posted 04/12/12 09:34AM Send a private email to Sheepherder007. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
Would agree on environmental aspect in once in 7 lambings. It manifests itself much more often than that genetically from known carriers. Any ewe that produces a parrot here is duly noted and not bred to certain lines that are known carriers. No actual parrot mouth ewes are kept. I have one ram that is out of these lines and while he has never sired a parrot lamb yet, he is never bred to any known carrier ewes either.

kciDPosted 04/12/12 11:07AM Send a private email to kciD. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
I do beleive that the enviromental PM-- can and will turn into a genetical PM for future generations.

DonD1Posted 04/12/12 12:35PM Send a private email to DonD1. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
kciD, I'm skeptical of the environmental PM but the statement that an environmental influenced trait can become genetic on the surface is just plain wrong. Hopefully you meant something a little different. If this was true we wouldn't have to dock lambs anymore the tails would have vanished.

There is a principle in statistics that people frequently overlook. Let's assume that PM is a single recessive gene, then the traditional simple genetic model applies and you'd have a 1:4 chance of any lamb bred to two carriers getting it. BUT that does NOT mean that if a ewe lambs has 8 lambs she will have 2 PM lambs. In a large enough population it will work out that way for the total lambs born BUT in a small population it won't. EACH lamb has a 1:4 chance of being PM. If the above example lets say there were really 8 carrier ewes and 2 of those ewes happened to produce PM lambs year 1 and 2. If it's a single recessive gene you simply culled the ewes that happened to have the PM lambs early, the ewe that lambed 8 times has exactly the same chance in the 9th lambing of having a PM lamb as the ewes that had a PM lamb year 1 and 2. The expression of the trait is independent from the fact an earlier offspring has expressed it EXCEPT for the fact that once it's been expressed by a lamb from a given ewe or sire you know that both are carriers.

That said, I have NO idea if PM is one gene or from multiple genes and if it's simple dominance or more complex partial dominance or linked with other genes.

EmsoffLambsPosted 04/12/12 12:57PM Send a private email to EmsoffLambs. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
I was thinking the same thing, Don. Odds are if it's a simple recessive that you'll get 1 in 4 if both the sire and dam are carriers. However, that's a 25% chance with EACH lamb. Look at it this way. Every time you flip a coin, there's a 50% chance you'll get heads and a 50% chance you'll get tails. So odds are if you flip that coin 8 times, you'll get 4 heads and 4 tails. However, in reality, it's very possible to get 7 heads and 1 tails. Now figure that instead, you're flipping two coins (one for the sire and one for the dam). Heads represents the parrot mouth gene. While one heads and one tails is a carrier, you've got to get two heads at the same time for the lamb to actually be a parrot mouth. Flip both coins eight times and it's very likely that you'll only get two heads one of those times.

Like Don, I'm not aware of whether parrot mouth is a simple recessive or not, but if it is, it's very possible, and not even that unlikely to not have a lamb show up until the eighth breeding.

kciDPosted 04/12/12 09:43PM Send a private email to kciD. Changed 04/12/12 09:45PM
Yes, you read what I wrote correct..

if a lamb is PM from environmental causes-- it's very likely that was caused by some deletion of genes or a gene sequence. If those genes are not present-- they will not get bred on-- thus that particular sheep will breed on the parrot mouth gene-- even though it's was environmental to begin with.

Same thing applys with TH in cattle-- one version is a mutation that started in the 70's with the old Improver bull. A second strain- completely different started in the 90's or 00's with the outkast bull. Non blood relationship b/w the two- and the outkast bull's parent's, as confirmed DNA are not carriers either-- his was a simple mutation of a gene... Both are th carriers-- although completely different genetically.. if you mate a TH Improver, to a TH Outkast-- you still 25% of the time get a dead calf...

IMO, same principles apply to parrot mouth. I firmly believe one is a mutation, and the other a deletion-- just like the TH deal... Totally different- yet yield the same end result.

I also do not believe PM is a simple dom/ rec trait-- no way.. we'd have more pm lambs running around the country. I'm thinking it's more of a sequence-- something like 4 genes have to line up-- which would make it from a 25% chance of breeding on-- to a very small amount that only linebreeding or the god's gift will line up to be expressed. or maybe I'm wrong.

Sheepherder007Posted 04/12/12 10:12PM Send a private email to Sheepherder007. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
Would have to agree here. It is more than single recessive gene. It manifests itself line breeding much more quickly than carrier breeding. I have seen a group of related lambs that were over 50% bad parrot mouth. These numbers are hard to explain with single recessive.
A similar situation that almost has to have a gene sequence is merle color in dogs. You breed two merles together and you will get some deaf and blind pups.
I can see the possibility of gene mutation due to environmental aspect and subsequent trait expression even though I had not previously thought that way. I definitely remember Dr. Clay trying to point out the possibility of line mutation(sequence) to a bunch of thick headed college kids and to this day had never thought about it again.
The use of codon testing and DNA mapping is still a relatively new science as the tools to map a DNA sequence were simply not available a few short years ago.

TXsheepRaiserPosted 04/12/12 11:04PM Send a private email to TXsheepRaiser. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
Josh we had a parrot mouth ewe and every lamb she had some sort of the parrot mouth gene just not as bad as there momma. When i had the sense to realize that it was getting inherited we got rid of her.. If you do breed one, make sure its for terminal purposes only or you will just pass the gene on..


holliterman36Posted 04/13/12 12:23AM Send a private email to holliterman36. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
Pete, any idea where the buck ended up? or where I can take at look at him?

PeteMPosted 04/13/12 08:10AM Send a private email to PeteM. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
eholliterman36 mail me


KyhampbreederPosted 04/13/12 08:14AM Send a private email to Kyhampbreeder. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM

If Pete is thinking the same buck, that one went on to Arizona and California.

bigiron59Posted 04/13/12 09:22AM Send a private email to bigiron59. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
This is an interesting topic. I don't worry to much about parrots, I have one this year, and she is a ripper, but will be culled. I don't care if she was a environmental or genetic mutation. She has a bad flaw so will hit the road when fat. Both Don and Crystal are right from a statistical point. But Kcid is spot on with his statement. In my previous occupation working for a biomedical company and cloned cattle, it was discoved that environmental condition have a huge impact on outcomes. Even after some of our calves were born and put on trials, some vaccines would cause recptor genes to accitvate and they would completely switch gears and produce different classes of antibiodies.Some genes have the capability to mutate after challeges and produce differently.. I am not smart enough to explain or understand this class switching, but know that it intrigued some of the best in world, and it was repeatable. The basis is correct, gene mutation can , and does happen and perhaps more than we realize.That is why the cloning of animals is such a challenge. The cells may mutate from any condition at any point in the process. In real breeding , the same theory does apply, but normally does not as at early stage devisons, the blastocyste if fairly stable in the host.In the research that I was invloved in, simple gene removal had unexpected results most of the time, as genes had many hidden connections and changing one had a usually neagtive respose on another. That is why the cloned bulls and cows usually do not breed like the host, and may not really even look like the host, and while gentically exact copies of the host, are not indentical in any way. I have 5 brothers and sisters, we are all cut from the same gentic material, but are all somewhat differnt because of how the genes lined up.What made that diffence, environmental, gene dillution,gene deletion,mutation. After working with some of the best in the world for 5 years, the more we learned , the less we knew about gentic markers, gene dilution,gene mutation,ect. We had many more postive outcomes, as we eliminated many flawed genes. We learned that most humans have some damaged ladders or loci's, which lead us to belive that gene mutation is ongoing even as we mature, and we know that in the cattle we worked with it was constant.We can debate this all day, but some things just can not be explained . It is always best to cull and undesirable traits, and PM is one. It evidently is dear and near to some, as they want to try to "fix" it or continue the path. I consisder it a leathal defect. They just don't die until I harvest them. For the record the ram that my parrot came from is intensely linbred as are the ewes he was mated to, but are outcrosses to each other. The twin to the lamb is fine. twin sister to the dam of the parrot was mated to the same ram, the offspring are very similar to her sisters, and no parrot. So twin sister mated to ram, 4 lambs 1 parrot. There is your 1 in 4. Will it happen next year. bet not.Because the dam of the twins and her seven sisters were all mated to the same ram, and nothing, and the 10 1/2, 3/4 and 7/8 sisters to the ewe that produced the parrot were mated to the same ram, no parrots.So this whole family of very closely related ewes, mated to same ram for two years produced 1 parrot. and she is getting worse as time goes on. She is 70 lbs or so now, and off by at least 3/4 inch. My thoughts are random gene mutation, or environmental, but I bet if I breed her back to her daddy, and then line them up again. I can creat some more. Guess I am kinda old school in my approach to breedig and cull any thing to any undesirable trait. feet ,legs, udder, mouth, Flock growth is slower with this process, but the outcomes are much more predicatable. I am always amazed that some seem to think all thier ewe lambs are "keepers" or have decided at 5 days"shes a keeper".In reality, I would expect that if the top 20 percent of your ewes were good enough to replace thier moms, you have a pretty
impressive flock.
Kinda off topic, but she was mine she would be gone.And no worry , unless I had a bunch of them, Then probaly cull the whole line.

kciDPosted 04/13/12 03:21PM Send a private email to kciD. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
A very good Hampshire ram lamb in the early 00's- was born PM-- by L'ville time was correct in the mouth-- and by L'ville as a yearling-- he was monkey mouth. He won his class as a lamb at L'ville.

My pair of twin PM lambs this spring-- one was born normal-- and by weaning is also PM.

DownWithHairPosted 04/13/12 05:48PM Send a private email to DownWithHair. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
I know it ie very different comparing horses and sheep, but I have a two yearold pony that I got early last year that was parrot mouthed by about 3/4 of an inch now it is only about and 1/8th and easy to hide when a judge mouths her. There are a lot of thongs that can grow out.

califmomPosted 04/13/12 06:00PM Send a private email to califmom. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
This isn't making fun of you or anything...but your typo "thongs" gave me a good laugh

DownWithHairPosted 04/13/12 07:32PM Send a private email to DownWithHair. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
Oh geez...I swear I did this on my phone and that was auto correct! LOL though! It's supposed to be things obviously

califmomPosted 04/13/12 07:43PM Send a private email to califmom. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
Hahahaaa those darn phones think they are smarter!

kciDPosted 04/15/12 08:37AM Send a private email to kciD. Changed 00/00/00 12:00AM
ttt for someone


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