Effects of Environment

Sexual activity in sheep is primarily controlled by the ratio of daylight to dark. Estrus becomes more frequent as the days become shorter. In general, fertility is highest and most efficient when ewes are bred in September, October, or November; ewes bred at this time generally produce the highest percentage of multiple births.

High temperatures are detrimental to fertility, embryo survival, and fetal development. This is the biggest objection to fall lamb production. High temperatures at breeding can reduce conception rate. Heat stress during gestation impairs fetal development and can cause lambs to be significantly smaller at birth.