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Trop Anim Health Prod. 2011 Oct;43(7):1443-8. doi: 10.1007/s11250-011-9874-5. Epub 2011 Apr 27.

Breeding practices, growth, and carcass potential of fat-tailed Washera sheep breed in Ethiopia.

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Debre Berhan Agricultural Research Center, P.O. Box 112, Debre Berhan, Ethiopia.


On-farm survey of farmers' breeding practices, breeding objectives, and selection criteria and on-station feedlot performance evaluation of Washera sheep were undertaken in Ethiopia. The survey revealed that most (79.8%) of the farmers had no breeding ram. The mating system was predominantly uncontrolled. A majority (75.5%) of the sheep owners reported that they herded their sheep flock by mixing with other livestock species mainly with cattle. During grazing, 44.6% of the farmers mix their sheep flock with neighboring sheep flocks. The major sheep production objective was to generate income from the sale of live sheep. Fast growth, appearance, coat color, and pedigree performance were important ram selection criteria, respectively. Ability to breed at early age, pedigree information, mothering ability, and lambing interval were important selection criteria for ewe, respectively. The on-station performance study involved evaluation of feedlot gains and carcass production under five levels of feeding regimes (300, 400, 500, 600, and 700 g day(-1) of concentrate feed) for a period of 93 days. The results indicated that the feedlot growth and carcass performance of Washera sheep were very high, with average daily weight gains of up to 126 g and carcass weight of 16 kg, with the optimal level of supplementation for Washera sheep being at 500 g of concentrate per day for a period of 93 days.

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