Livestock Research for Rural Development 24 (1) 2012 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Traditional management system and farmers’ perception on local sheep breeds (Washera and Farta) and their crosses in Amhara Region, Ethiopia

Shigdaf Mekuriaw*, Zeleke Mekuriaw*, Mengistie Taye*, Asresu Yitayew, Habtemariam Assefa and Aynalem Haile**, ***

Andassa Livestock Research Center, P.O.Box 27, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
* Bahir Dar University, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, P.O.Box 79, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
** International Livestock Research Institute, P.O.Box 5689, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
*** International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, P.O.Box. 5466, Alepo, Syria


The study was conducted at Farta and Lay Gayint districts of South Gonder zone in Amhara Region. Participatory rural appraisal approach was used to assess and collect information on traditional sheep production system and farmers’ perception on Washera, Farta and their crossbred sheep. In addition, off-take data collected from 2007 to 2010 was used. Data were described and analyzed using descriptive statistics procedures of Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 16.0.

Sheep were the dominant species of animals kept in the study areas and they were kept for immediate cash income to solve financial problems. The major constraints to sheep production in the study areas were feed shortage (44%), animal health problems (28%), labour shortage (15%) and occurrence of drought (13%). The overall off-take rate was 25.3% and 32.8% for Farta and Lay Gayint districts, respectively. Sixty-five percent of the farmers reported that Washera sheep have better growth performance; they grow fast and gain better when fed well compared to Farta and their crossbred sheep. Washera sheep has better acceptance by the farmers for its large body size, smooth hair, fast growth, big fat tail and attractive coat color. Relative susceptibility to disease and drought in addition to lack of horn were considered as the drawbacks of Washera sheep in the study area. Crossbred sheep were more preferred by the farmers for their overall merits of both adaptation and productivity. Farmers are therefore in need of Washera rams to use them for crossbreeding with Farta ewes. To improve the productivity of sheep in the study area, efforts towards improving the management level and the genetic potential of Farta sheep should be combined.  

Key words: Crossbreed, production system


In developing countries, livestock production is mostly subsistence oriented and fulfils multiple functions that contribute more for food security (Roessler et al 2008; Duguma et al 2010). The demand for livestock products is increasing due to the growing urban population, while farm areas are shrinking considerably as a result of an increase in the rural population (Siegmund-Schultze et al 2009). Along with this, crop production has become difficult in many of the highlands of Ethiopia due to unreliable rainfall, poor soil fertility and frost problem. Because of these, the Amhara regional government planned specialization in livestock production in these areas, mainly with sheep (Tesfaye et al 2009). Sheep have multipurpose function and contribute to the livelihood of a large number of small and marginal farmers (Beneberu and Jabarin 2006; Thiruvenkadan et al 2009). As a result, the regional government has taken measures to improve the productivity of indigenous sheep of the region. Part of this initiative is the crossbreeding program between Washara and Farta sheep breeds in Farta and Lay Gayint districts with objective of improving sheep production and productivity.


Farta sheep is a medium sized breed compared to Washera sheep (Solomon et al 2008). Washera sheep is one of the most productive breeds in Ethiopia and it is found in the mixed crop-livestock production systems of the western highlands of Amhara region (Mengistie et al 2009; Solomon et al 2010). Washera sheep is fast growing and reaches market weight (16.6) kg at about six months of age with a yearling weight of 23.47 kg (Mengistie et al 2009). It has better twining rate (1.19 lambs per ewe lambing) than many other indigenous sheep breeds in Ethiopia (Mengistie et al 2011).


Past experience in crossbreeding of Ethiopian highland sheep with exotic breeds were unsuccessful partly because of the need for continuous supply of the exotic breeds and is the cost associated (Solomon and Gemeda 2002). Crossbreeding based on better performing indigenous breeds is another option to improve the genetic performances of low producing animals (Tesfaye et al 2009). With this consideration, Andassa Livestock Research Center (ALRC) in collaboration with Food Security and Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development (BoARD) has designed and implemented breed improvement program for Farta sheep through crossing with Washera sheep in pilot areas of Farta and Lay Gaynt districts of south Gonder zone, Amhara region. This is meant to test the government plan before wider application is made.


In these pilot research areas, in addition to their local Farta sheep, farmers are made to rear pure Washera and their crosses with Farta sheep. Therefore, this paper reports on farmers’ perception on these sheep breeds and their production system for further intervention and development.  

Materials and Methods

Description of the study area 

The study was conducted at Farta and Lay Gayint districts of South Gonder Zone of Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Farta district is situated at 11°40′ N latitude and 38° E longitude and located at about 100 km north-east of Bahir Dar, capital city of the Amhara Region. It lies within an altitude range of 1920-4135 m a.s.l. The district receives average annual rainfall of 900-1099 mm and a mean-range temperature of 9-25oC (ENMA unpublished). The district’s is characterized as food insecure (Alemtsehay and Girma 2006). The other district, Lay Gayint, is located at 175 km north-east from Bahir Dar and lies between altitude ranges of 1300-3500 m a.s.l, 11o43’N latitude and 38o18’E longitude (Assemu 2009).It receives an annual average rainfall of 600-1100 mm and mean minimum and maximum temperatures of 9 and 19oC, respectively (ENMA unpublished). It is characterized by drought, sever soil erosion, poor soil fertility, frost and shortage of arable land, crop disease and pest hail damage, landslide and feed shortage (South Gonder Zone BOA 2008).

Data collection and analysis 

Data for this study were collected from Lay Gayint and Farta Districts where the Farta sheep productivity improvement program is undergoing. A project entitled “Improvement of sheep production and productivity for poverty reduction in Lay Gayint and Farta Districts of South Gonder Administrative Zone of Amhara Region” was started in 2007 by Andassa livestock research center in collaboration with Food security office and BoARD with the objectives of improving the livelihood of farmers through improving sheep production. It was started with 118 households in four peasant associations.  

Participatory rural appraisal (PRA) with focus group discussion was used to assess and collect information on the traditional sheep production system of the areas and farmers perception on Washera, Farta and their crossbreds using a checklist. Group discussion was carried out at both sites with 23 farmers in Farta and 13 farmers in Lay Gayint districts composed of village leaders, religious leaders, elders, women and youths who have experience of keeping Washera, Farta and their crossbred sheep. Key informants on study sites such as village extension agents and enumerators also participated in the discussion. A multidisciplinary team composed of researchers from livestock, economics and extension carried out the PRA tools.  

Off-take data collected from 2007 to 2010 at the project site was used for this study. Data were collected by trained enumerators using standard recording format. Data collection supervised and data were validated by professionals from ALRC. Disposal records were taken as sold, slaughtered, lost and died with its date of disposition. Animals have been identified using permanent plastic ear tags applied at birth or purchase. Participatory rural appraisal and off-take data were analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS 2009) version 16.0. Methods used by Purusothaman et al (2008) and Deribe (2009) were employed to estimate gross off-take rate as:

                Gross off-take in period (t) = (sales + slaughters + exchanges + gifts) (t)

                Gross off-take rate (%) = (Gross off-take /Total flock size) x 100  

Results and Discussion

Sheep production system and management practices

The agricultural production system in the study area was mixed crop-livestock. This type of production system is well documented in the literature (Legesse et al 2008; Tsedeke et al 2011). Livestock production was the main agricultural activity for the livelihood of the smallholder farmers in Lay Gayint district whereas it is next to crop production in Farta district. Cattle, sheep, donkey and poultry are main livestock species reared by the farm households. The major crops grown include barely, wheat, grass pea, field pea, faba bean and potato in both areas. Especially in Farta district livestock and crop production complement each other in such a way that livestock are used as a source of draft and manure for crop production and from crop production the crop residues, straws and aftermath serve as main components of livestock feed as also reported by Mengistie et al (2010).  

Importance of sheep in study areas 

Ninety-two percent of the farmers keep sheep for immediate cash needs to solve their financial problems through sale of live animals. This concurs with report of Tesfaye et al (2011) that sheep are mainly kept for income generation followed by meat consumption.  Belete et al (2010) also indicated that small ruminants are primarily kept for cash generation. The cash obtained is used for clothing, purchase of food items, replacement stock, farm inputs and household supplies. Similarly, multipurpose functions of sheep rearing were reported for sheep keepers in other areas of Ethiopia (Zewdu et al 2009). 

Feeding and feed resources  

The main feed resources for sheep in the study area were natural grazing pasture (70.6%), crop residue (15.4%), improved forage (5.2%), aftermath (9.8%) and concentrates (5%). Sheep in these areas are under nutritional stress throughout the year as a result supplementation of feed has done with high focus especially for pregnant, nursing sheep and castrated fattening males. The major supplementary feeds were hay, pulse crop residue, cereal crop residue, local brewery by-products, potato and some grains.  

Housing system 

All farmers in the study area house their sheep at night throughout the year to protect them from cold, rain, predators and theft. This is in agreement with report of Belete et al (2010) that all small ruminants are housed for protection from adverse weather conditions and predators in western Ethiopian highlands. Sheep were always housed together with other livestock, in a barn constructed as an expansion of the main houses or separately in and around the family house. Similarly, Judith (2006) reported that the highland sheep and goats in Amhara region were housed within the family house in lightless, unventilated holding rooms attached to the house. Farmers give especial attention for pregnant animals, young lambs and weak/sick animals in providing neat and clean house because these groups of sheep are the most vulnerable for damage by other animals. 

Disease prevalence and control  

The major diseases reported were pasturellosis, fascioliasis, gastro-intestinal parasites and sheep pox, in order of their importance. In addition to taking sick animals to vet health clinics, farmers treat their sick sheep by themselves using different traditional knowledge. In areas where vet clinics are unavailable, farmers travel long distances to get veterinary services during which many animals die before reaching the clinic. Farmers, during the discussion, emphasized that it would be of great help for them if veterinary clinics are established in the vicinity. If this is difficult, they suggested provision of short term training to some innovative farmers to handle simple cases. The farmers also explained that supplies of drugs are not adequate at government clinics and the drugs purchased from private drug vendor were ineffective.

Culling system 

Most farmers (96.1%) used to cull unproductive animals and during feed shortages. The main reasons for culling sheep were old age (41.2%), poor physical condition (29.4%), fertility problems (19.6%) and susceptibility to disease (9.8%). Verbeek et al (2007) also reported that the main reasons for culling of goats and sheep for smallholder farmers were age of the animals and fertility problems.  

Castration practice  

Castration is becoming common (52.8%) especially for Washera and crossbred sheep because of their great potential for fattening and rewarding prices during sale. Likewise, Tesfaye et al (2009) reported that farmers are more interested to fatten and sell rams at higher price for pressing cash need instead of maintaining for breeding around Menz area. The method of castration practice by repeatedly crushing the cord above the testis using local materials in the study areas were similar to the report by Mengistie et al (2010) in Quarit and Yilmanadensa districts. The average age of castration in the current study was two years which is in line with the survey report of Shigdaf et al (2009).


Market access was not mentioned as a problem in the study areas since there is a nearby market to sell their sheep and there is a trend of marketing within the village especially for breeding purpose. In the study areas, sheep are sold more often to earn income for regular expenses throughout the year and peaks during religious festivals. This result is in agreement with those of Mengistie et al (2010) and Tsedeke et al (2011). The price of sheep fluctuates over the year according to the timing of fasting periods, religious holidays, festivals and crop failures season. It was found high in holidays such as Easter, Christmas, and Muslim holidays and the Ethiopian New Year and low during the wet and drought season due to feed shortage and different disease occurrences. Ram lambs, ewe lambs and old ewes were priority groups to be sold when money is needed by the family. 

Constraints to sheep production in the study areas 

The major constraints to sheep production in the study areas were feed shortage (44%), animal health problems (28%), labour shortage (15%) and occurrence of drought (13%). Similar constraints were reported by Belete et al (2010) in Western Ethiopian Highlands. Grazing land is shrinking due to increasing human and animal population and increased cropping. Farmers also complained that due to climate variability, there is no regular rainfall which aggravates feed shortage and make worse the pest and insects that attack grazing land. Similar shortage of feed is reported in different areas (Judith 2006; Mengistie et al 2010). Inadequate feeding and poor quality feed are often regarded to be major factors limiting sheep and goat production in the tropics (Kosgey et al 2008). The other constraints listed by farmers for sheep production include lack of improved forages species, inadequate feed conservation practices and absence of infrastructures.

Opportunity for sheep production  

The increasing feed shortage coupled with land degradation and population pressure is forcing farmers (93.6%), to shift from large ruminant to small ruminant production. The growing demand for meat from small ruminants, the improving transportation infrastructure and the experience of farmers in small ruminant keeping are providing opportunities to enhance the contribution of the sector (Legesse et al 2008). The increased domestic and international demand for Ethiopian sheep and goats has established them as important sources of Inland Revenue as well as foreign currency (Adane and Girma 2008). Their demand also creates an opportunity to substantially improve food security of the population and alleviate poverty through small ruminant production.  According to Tsedeke et al (2011), small ruminant keepers are aware of the current high market values and demand for small ruminants and some of them are trying to make use of this opportunity through value addition practices such as fattening.  

Access to markets is also another opportunity for sheep producers,  and this could be correlated to the current high off-take rate (demand of mutton and live sheep) and increased interest of foreign enterprises to invest in the study area (Sisay 2010). The largest modern export abattoir in Ethiopia was inaugurated recently in Bahir Dar, which is 70 km from the study area. The export abattoir, at full production has a capacity of slaughtering 3,000 sheep and goats per day. Thus, the supply of lambs in terms of quantity and quality to this abattoir will create an opportunity for sheep producers in the region.   

Off-take rate  

The overall off-take rate was 25.3% and 32.8% for Farta and Lay Gayint districts, respectively. This result is supported by findings of Kahsa (2009). The estimated off-take rate (percentage of animals slaughtered of all the population) for sheep is below 37%. Asfaw and Jabbar (2008) showed that the off-take rate for sheep for national consumption in 2005/06 is 13% and they also reported that there are very low commercial off-take rates of cattle and shoats for smallholder farmers and pastoralists in Ethiopia. 

Purpose of buyers 

Of the total sheep sold in Farta district, 17.5% of sheep were bought for consumption purposes while in Lay Gayint district 37.7% and 23.3% of sheep were sold for resale and consumption purposes, respectively. Eighteen percent of sheep sold in Lay Gayint were sold for fattening while it is only 2.8% in Farta district. In the study areas almost all (90.9%) marketing activities took place in nearby markets due to this they have a chance to get a sheep that meet their purpose.  Occasionally, exchange is also done in villages (9.01%), especially for reproduction purposes. This is done based on the history of the sheep, which is provided by the owner.

Table 1. Purpose of buyers across the study districts

Buyer purpose


Lay Gayint


















































N= number of observation.

Sex and age groups for sale 

As shown in Table 2, most of the male and female sheep sold in both districts were less than one year of age. This shows that farmers are more interested in sale of young sheep rather than older ones. This indicates that farmers have more practice in lamb production for their immediate use. More females than males were sold than males in both districts. This might be due to the high demand for females for breeding purpose. Males are more frequently slaughtered for household consumption.  This result is disagree with Beneberu and Jabarin (2006) that male sheep were dominant in all markets followed by females and castrated sheep. 

Table 2. Distribution of sold sheep by sex and age group



Lay Gayint





















 < 0.5













0.5  < 1













1 < 2













2 < 3







































N= number of observation.

Preference of color and body condition of sold sheep

Most buyers have preference for red and white color (37.18%) followed by red color (29.74) of sheep and black was the least preferred (2.57%). Regarding the body condition, of the total sheep sold in both districts 13.6%, 56.4% and 29.9% were poor, medium and high, respectively. It indicates that sheep having good body condition were sold while the poor ones were kept. This might have an effect on decreasing productivity of the flocks. .

Farmers’ perception on Washera, Farta and their crossbred sheep  

Farmers participating in the project and rearing Washera, Farta and their crossbred sheep have different preferences for the breeds and different traits. Farmers have different sheep trait preferences since they have intimate knowledge of their respective local environments, conditions, problems and priorities (Duguma et al 2010).  

Growth rate and fattening potential 

Sixty five percent of the farmers reported that Washera sheep have better growth performance; they grow fast and gain better weight when fed well compared to Farta and their crossbred sheep. While 35% of the farmers said that the crossbred sheep have faster growth than Farta sheep and good fattening potential like pure Washera sheep. This result concurs with reports of Mengistie et al (2010) and Tesfaye et al (2011) who indicated that Washera sheep grow fast and have large body size.  

Phenotypic characteristics 

Based on the focus group discussion, colour was used as a selection criterion in which mostly white, red with white legged and/or faced and brown colours were selected for breeding. Tesfaye et al (2010) reported that in addition to production traits, farmers gave attention to coat colour of their sheep during decision making. As a result, most of the farmers (78%) explain that they have high interest for Washera and crossbred sheep coat colour which have light and dark red colours.  

Farmers prefer smooth haired sheep because they believe that short and smooth hair of Washera sheep helps to fatten easily as it makes the sheep free from external parasite and the feed required for hair production could be used for meat production. The coarse fleece of Farta sheep harbours external parasites which is affecting its health and productivity. Most of the farmers (89%) in the study areas prefer horned sheep for social value in the community and Farta sheep and crossbreds were preferred. However, absence of horn in Washera sheep is compensated with its productivity. 

The fat tail of Washera sheep is larger than Farta and is among the traits which make the breed accepted by the farmers. About 86.8% of the farmers in the group discussion agreed with this idea. That is why farmers in the study area gave high attention for this breed and purchase them at high price. Likewise, Tesfaye et al (2011) reported that large fat tail fetches higher price in local markets and Mengistie et al (2009) reported that Washera sheep is characterized by large body size and wide fat tail. According to the farmers’ information, culturally big fat tail sheep have high demand in the community during holidays and for home consumption, sometimes slaughtering such type of sheep is an indicator of wealth status.  

Tolerance to disease, drought and feed shortage 

From the farmers’ point of view (68.6%), the Farta and crossbred sheep are more tolerant against diseases as compared to Washera sheep. Farmers (32.4%) also explained that even though different health problems (like coughing, diarrhoea and even death) were seen during initial adaptation periods, Washera sheep gradually became resistant to different disease exposure in this cold environment.  

Seventy eight percent of the farmers said that Washera sheep have good body condition during the wet season while during the dry season they easily deteriorate because of the feed shortage and environmental stress. This might be because they came from a better feed and cropping area (Mengistie et al 2010). Similarly, Solomon (2009) reported that Farta sheep is adapted to feed shortage areas while Washera sheep adapts well to productive environment in their home area.  

Market value 

Farmers (90.6%) pointed out that Washera and crossbred sheep have a higher market value  than Farta sheep due to their better growth, larger body size & conformation, big fat tail and attractive colour as a result it bring better price. Beneberu and Jabarin (2006) reported that sheep price is affected by animal characteristics such as weight, sex, age, condition and colour. 


In the group discussion farmers were asked to choose among the following options with regard to keeping breeds:


Option 1. Keeping pure Washera sheep ewe and ram,

Option 2. Rearing Washera cross with Farta sheep using Washera ram

Option 3. Keeping the Farta sheep with improved management.  

Thirty percent of the farmers in both districts opted for keeping only pure Washera sheep ewe and ram (option 1) to be more benefitted in short period of time using improved management practices. Sixty two percent of the farmers, however, wanted to keep Washera cross with Farta sheep (option 2) since they do not need much more inputs to be profitable. Eight percent of the farmers recommend to keep Farta sheep (option 3).  

Conclusions and Recommendations


The authors are grateful to Andassa Livestock Research Center for the financial assistance to carry out this study. Many thanks also to Agraw Amane, Eyassu Lakew, Dr. Yeshiwas Ferede and Yenesew Abebe for their technical support during data collection.  


Adane Hirpa and Girma Abebe 2008 Economic significance of sheep and goats. In: Alemu Yami and R.C. Markel (eds). Sheep and Goat Production Handbook for Ethiopia. ESGPIP (Ethiopia Sheep and Goats Productivity Improvement Program). 2008, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. pp 2-24.


Alemtsehay Aberra and Girma HaileMichael 2006 Terminal evaluation report on Care-Ethiopia's. Farta food security and support project (FFSSP) (2002-2005), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


Asfaw Negassa and Jabbar M 2008 Livestock ownership, commercial off-take rates and their determinants in Ethiopia. Research Report 9. ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute), Nairobi, Kenya. 52 pp. 

Assemu Tesfa 2009 Assessment of Production System and Reproductive Performance of Dairy Cattle in Lay Gayint woreda, South Gonder Zone, Ethiopia (Unpublished report).  

Belete Shenkute, Getahun Legasse, Azage Tegegne and Abubeker Hassen 2010 Small ruminant production in coffee-based mixed crop-livestock system of Western Ethiopian Highlands: Status and prospectus for improvement. Livestock Research for Rural Development 22 (10).


Beneberu, T, and Jabarin S 2006 Sheep price patterns and factors affecting price variations in the highland markets of North Shewa, Ethiopia. Jordan journal of Agricultural sciences, volume 2, No.1.


Deribe Gemiyu 2009 On-farm performance evaluation of indigenous sheep and goats in Alaba, Southern Ethiopia. M.Sc Thesis presented to the School of Graduate Studies of Hawassa University, Awassa, Ethiopia.


Duguma G, Mirkena T, Haile A, Ińiguez L, Okeyo A M, Tibbo M, Rischkowsky B, Sölkner J and Wurzinger M 2010 Participatory approaches to investigate breeding objectives of livestock keepers. Livestock Research for Rural Development 22 (4).


Ethiopian National Metrological Agency (ENMA). Annual report 2009 (Unpublished).


Kahsa Tadel Gebre 2009 Estimates of economic values for important traits of two indigenous sheep breeds of Ethiopia. MSc. Thesis, BOKU – University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences,Vienna, Austria.


Kosgey I S, Rowlands G J, van Arendonk J A M. and Baker R L 2008 Small ruminant production in smallholder and pastoral/extensive farming systems in Kenya. Small Ruminant Research 77:11–24.


Legesse G, Abebe G, Siegmund-Schultze M and Valle Zárate A 2008 Small ruminant production in two mixed-farming systems of southern Ethiopia: Status and prospects for improvement. Experimental Agriculture. 44(3):399-412.


Judith Mosses 2006 Goat and sheep production and marketing in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. Final report AMAREW 06/2006.Part 1.pp:2-4.


Mengistie Taye, Girma Abebe, Solomon Gizaw, Sisay Lemma, Abebe Mekoya  and Markos Tibbo 2009 Growth performances of Washera sheep under smallholder management systems in Yilmanadensa and Quarit districts, Ethiopia. Trop Anim Health Prod. DOI 10.1007/s11250-009-9473-x.


Mengistie Taye, Girma Abebe, Solomon Gizaw, Sisay Lemma, Abebe Mekoya  and Markos Tibbo 2010 Traditional management systems and linear body measurements of Washera sheep in the western highlands of the Amhara National Regional State, Ethiopia. Livestock Research for Rural Development 22 (9).


Mengistie Taye,  Girma Abebe, Sisay Lemma, Solomon Gizaw, Abebe Mekoya  and Markos Tibbo 2011 Reproductive Performances and Survival of Washera Sheep under Traditional Managment systems at Yilmanadensa and Quarit Districts of the Amhara National Regional State, Ethiopia. Journal of Animal Science and Veterinary Advances 10 (9): 1158-1165. 


Purusothaman M R, Thiruvenkadan A K and Karunanithi K 2008 Seasonal variation in body weight and mortality rate in Mecheri adult sheep. Livestock Research for Rural Development 20 (9).


Roessler R, Drucker A G, Scarpa R, Markemann A, Lemke U, Thuy LT and Valle Zárate A 2008 Using choice experiments to assess smallholder farmers' preferences for pig breeding traits in different production systems in North–West Vietnam. Ecological Economics 66(1):184-192.


Shigdaf Mekuriaw, Asresu Yitayew, Mengistie Taye, Hailu Mazengia and Tewodros Bimerow 2009 Traditional Sheep Production Systems in South Gonder zone of Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Proceedings of the 3rd Annual Regional Confernce on Completed Livestock Research Activities. 14 to 20 November 2009.


Sisay Asmare 2010 Characterization of Sheep Production System and Fattening Practices in Bahir Dar Zuria Woreda ,Western Gojam Zone, of Amhara Region , Ethiopia. Msc Thesis Submitted to the Department of Animal Production and Technology, School of Graduate Studies Bahir University, Ethiopia.


Siegmund-Schultze M, Legesse G, Abebe G  and Valle Zárate A 2009 Bottleneck analysis of sheep production systems in southern Ethiopia: Comparison of reproductive and growth parameters. Options Méditerranéennes, A no. 91, 2009 – Changes in sheep and goat farming systems at the beginning of the 21st century.


Solomon Abegaz and Gemeda Duguma 2002 Genetic and Environmental Trends in Growth Performance of a Flock of Horro Sheep. Eth. J. Anim. Prod. 2(1): 49-58.


Solomon G, Hans K, Jack J, Olivier H, Johan A M and VAN A 2008 Conservation priorities for Ethiopian sheep breeds combining threat status, breed merits and contributions to genetic diversity. Genet. Sel. Evol. 40; 433–447.


Solomon Gizaw 2009 Sheep breeds of Ethiopia: A guide for identification and utilization.  Ethiopia Sheep and Goat Productivity Improvement Program (ESGPIP), Technical bulletin No. 28.


Solomon Gizaw, Azage Tegegne, Berhanu Gebremedhin and Dirk Hoekstra 2010 Sheep and goat production and marketing systems in Ethiopia: Characteristics and strategies for improvement. Improving Productivity and Market Success of Ethiopian Farmers Project Working Paper 23. International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya. pp 58.


South Gonder Zone Agriculture and Rural Development Office 2008 Socio-Economic survey report from 2003-2008 (un-published).


SPSS for windows 2009 Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS). Release 16.0. The Apasche software foundation.


Tesfaye Getachew, Aynalem Haile, Markos Tibbo, Sharma A K, Ashebir K, Endashaw Teref, Wurzinger M and Sölkner J 2009 Morphological characters and body weight of Menz and Afar sheep within their production system. Ethiopian Journal of Animal Production Vol. 9(1), pp. 99-115.


Tesfaye Getachew, Aynalem Haile, Markos Tibbo, Sharma A. K., Sölkner J and Wurzinger M 2010 Herd management and breeding practices of sheep owners in a mixed crop-livestock and a pastoral system of Ethiopia. African Journal of Agricultural Research Vol. 5(8), pp. 685-691.


Tesfaye Getachew, Solomon Gizaw, Sisay Lemma and Mengistie Taye 2011 Breeding practices, growth, and carcass potential of fat-tailed Washera sheep breed in Ethiopia. Trop Anim Health Prod. DOI 10.1007/s11250-011-9874-5.


Thiruvenkadan A K, Karunanithi K,Murugan M,.Arunachalam K and Narendra Babu R 2009 A comparative study on growth performance of crossbred and purebred Mecheri sheep raised under dry land farming conditions. South African Journal of Animal Science 39 (Supplement 1) South African Society for Animal Science Peer-reviewed paper: 10th World Conference on Animal Production 121.


Tsedeke Kocho, Girma Abebe, Azage Tegegne and Berhanu Gebremedhin 2011 Marketing value-chain of smallholder sheep and goats in crop-livestock mixed farming system of Alaba, Southern Ethiopia. Short communication. Small Ruminant Research 96:101–105.


Verbeek E, Kanis E, Bett R C and Kosgey I S 2007 Socio-economic factors influencing small ruminant breeding in Kenya. Livestock Research for Rural Development 19 (6). 

Zewdu Edea, Aynalem Haile, Markos Tibbo, Sharma A K, Dejen A, Sölkner J and Wurzinger M 2009 Morphological characterization of Bonga and Horro indigenous sheep breeds under smallholder conditions in Ethiopia. Ethiopian Journal of Animal Production 9(1):117-133.

Received 5 November 2011; Accepted 2 December 2011; Published 4 January 2012

Go to top