Sheep is an important species of live stock in India contributing to food, fibre, rural employment and gross product. This has special importance in arid, semi-arid and hilly areas where dairy farming is not so economical. Sheep contributes through mutton, skin and wool. The export of wool and west hand knotted carpets exceeds Rs. 120 crores. Our country has vast genetic resources of sheep comprising about 40 breeds. Most of wool producing sheep breeds produces carpet type wool. Nearly 50 percent of sheep in southern peninsular region produce extremely coarse wool and this is also true with sheep in eastern region which produce hairy fleece.
Sheep do not need expensive buildings to house them. They require less labour than any other kinds of livestock. The foundation stocks are relatively cheap and the flock can be multiplied rapidly. Sheep possess a special ability to thrive on natural grasses. Sheep are of economical converter of grass into meat & wool. The structure of their lips helps them to clean grains lost at harvest time, and thus convert waste feed into profitable products. Sheep dung is valuable fertilizer, and since they are grazed on, sub-margined lands their
droppings are the only means of improving the growth of plants in such areas. Mutton is one kind of meat towards which there is no prejudice by any community in India and further development of superior breeds for mutton production will have a great scope in the developing economy of India.
After going this lesson, you will be able to explain:
- important indigenous and exotic breeds of sheep and their characteristics and utility.
- feeding of pre-weaning lambs, growing & finishing lambs, finishing ration, feeding Adult sheep etc.
- different structures for housing sheep.
- essential managerial practices round the year.