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 OJAS  Vol.9 No.1 , January 2019
Productive and Reproductive Performances of Indigenous Sheep in Ethiopia: A Review
Abstract: Sheep in Ethiopia is among the major economically important livestock species in the country, playing a significant role to the livelihood of resource-poor farmers and pastoralists. A number of research works were done in the past which evaluate and improve the performance of indigenous sheep in Ethiopia. However, compiled information concerning the production and reproduction potential of indigenous sheep in the country is not available. In this paper, performance of major production and reproduction traits of indigenous sheep is reviewed and discussed. The information presented in this review indicated that, 16 to 126 g/d average daily gain, 7 - 18 kg hot carcass weight and dressing percentage of 34% to 49% (slaughter body weight basis) at 18 - 26 kg slaughter body weight have been recorded for Ethiopian sheep breeds fed various type of basal and supplement diets. These parameters showed variation within a breed and among breeds in various feeding trials and they increased as the level of supplement increases. However, despite sizeable information upon the response of sheep to various types of supplementary feeding, their full growth and other production potential of the majority of sheep breeds of the country are not well studied. Therefore, in future research work, emphasis should be given to explore the genetic potential of various production traits of sheep breeds of the country. Regarding the level of reproduction, 11 to 16 month age at first lambing (for most sheep breeds) and 7 to 10 month lambing intervals have been reported by various authors. The litter size result (1.01 to 1.7 lambs) showed that, there is high capability of Ethiopian sheep to give multiple births. The average pre-weaning mortality rate for most Ethiopian sheep breeds vary from 8% to 56%, which indicated that mortality is a major constraint that affects productivity of sheep in Ethiopia. Generally from the previous results it can be concluded that there is high variability within a breed and among Ethiopian sheep breeds in various production and reproduction traits. This implicates the presence of huge opportunity to improve these traits through improved management and selection.
Cite this paper: Ayele, S. and Urge, M. (2019) Productive and Reproductive Performances of Indigenous Sheep in Ethiopia: A Review. Open Journal of Animal Sciences, 9, 97-120. doi: 10.4236/ojas.2019.91009.
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