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A key element in the performance recording of sheep through the Signet Sheepbreeder Service is the collection of accurate measurements of muscle and fat using ultrasound scanning machines.

Scanning Procedure

scanning procedure

The animal needs to be restrained, ideally in a neck restrainer allowing the animal to stand naturally.

The scanning technique involves parting the wool at the third lumbar vertebra at 90 degrees to the backbone and then applying liquid paraffin oil to give contact.


The transducer is placed on the prepared site and adjusted until a clear image of the third lumbar transverse process, the eye muscle, and the fat layers can be seen on the machine’s screen.

ultrasound screen

The picture is then frozen and linear measurements of muscle and fat depths taken on the screen using a cursor.

Further information relating to ultrasound scanning can be found in our fact sheet Ultrasound Scanning