Livestock, Judging of

Livestock, Judging of


the evaluation of animals according to breeding and productive qualities in order to determine their breeding value.

In the USSR the judging of agricultural animals is one of the basic measures for the qualitative improvement of herds. It has been carried out since 1934 on all the sovkhozes and kolkhozes that have breeding farms and on large livestock farms that produce for the market. The basic regulations and procedure for the judging of agricultural animals are defined by the instructions on the breeding and judging of animals that have been worked out by the Ministry of Agriculture of the USSR. The valuation is done by the zootechnician grader with the participation of the veterinarian or veterinary assistant, the head of the farm, the brigade leaders, and other farm workers. Animals that are evaluated every year at certain times on the breeding farms and in the breeding herds of the commercial farms include cows, bulls, and calves six months and older; sows, boars, and young pigs two months old that will be used for breeding; ewes, rams, and lambs of fine-fleeced and semifine-fleeced breeds at least one year old and lambs of coarse-fleeced, meat-lard, and nonspecialized breeds at about 18 months; lambs of lambskin breeds one to two days old; lambs of the fur breeds seven to eight months old; horses at least two years old; and poultry at least one year old, young chickens and turkeys at least two months old, and ducks and geese at least three months old.

Mature animals are judged in terms of origin, appearance, liveweight, productivity, reproductive capacity, and the quality of the offspring. The young are judged basically by their origin, appearance, and liveweight. (Young sheep are also judged for productivity.) The judging of an animal’s origin is done on the basis of pedigreed agricultural animals. Appearance is judged by examining and measuring the animals. Liveweight is judged by weighing the animals and studying the zootechnical records. Reproductive capacity is judged on the basis of data on sterility and prolonged estrus in the females and on sexual activity, the volume of ejaculation, and the quality of sperm in the males. The quality of the offspring is judged on the basis of data on the appearance and the productivity of the offspring.

The productivity of dairy and meat-dairy cows is judged on the basis of the milk yield during 300 days of lactation, as well as the fat and protein content of the milk. The milk productivity of meat cows is judged on the basis of the liveweight of a young animal six months old.

The productivity of pigs is judged on the basis of the fecundity and milk flow of the sows, as well as on the average weight of a farrow of piglets two months old. The milk flow of the sows is determined on the basis of the liveweight of the offspring at an age of 30 days. (The liveweight varies from 50 to 100 kg and more.)

The productivity of fine-fleeced sheep is determined according to the quantity and quality of the wool as well as the suint. The productivity of the lambskin sheep is judged according to the quality of the skin, while the fur sheep are judged according to the quality of the sheepskin, as well as fecundity and milk flow. The meat-wool breeds are judged on the basis of quality of their wool and meat, and the meat-lard breeds are judged on the basis of the development of meat forms and the shape and dimensions of the fat tail.

The work capacity of horses of the fast-gaited type (saddle and race horses) is judged according to their speed over a certain distance. The work capacity of draft horses is judged according to the maximum lifting capacity and speed with a load.

Egg production and the weight of the eggs are considered in judging the productivity of egg and meat-egg breeds of poultry. The egg production of chickens is determined for the first year and the subsequent two or three years of egg laying. The egg production of ducks, geese, and turkeys is judged after the annual egg-laying cycle.

During the valuation the animal is put in an appropriate class for each indicator. When all the indicators have been considered, the animal is given an overall rating—that is, a uniform comprehensive class is given. On the basis of the judging data, the animals are divided into breeding and production groups for further use, and measures are worked out to raise the productivity and improve the breeding qualities of the animals.

In the capitalist nations, sheep are valuated only on large farms. When necessary, other types of animals are judged for various productive and breeding qualities by qualified specialists.


Borisenko, E. Ia. Razvedenie sel’skokhoziaistvennykh zhivotnykh, 4th ed. Moscow, 1967.