Karakul sheep breed: features, description
The Karakul sheep breed is one of the oldest in the world. However, during her breeding, the attention of sheep breeders to her does not fade. What is the reason for its popularity and how to grow it, we will consider in the article.
The Karakul sheep is reckoned to be a coarse-haired species and a smoky-milk direction. Its main value is smushki: skins of newly born lambs.
The native land of the described sheep is Central Asia. It was bred in a natural way - by selection and culling, creating favorable conditions for growing. Presumably for the breeding we used Kurdyuchny and Arab skinny-tailed breeds.
Did you know? The most valuable breed of sheep in the world is considered to be the Scottish ram. In 2009, it was sold for 297 thousand euros.
The main characteristics of the breed
The Karakul sheep has characteristic external features that do not allow it to be confused with another breed.
Appearance and description
Animals have a strong and dry constitution. They have long legs, deep chests. The body is shaped like a pear.
Only males have horns, females are hornless. Although in rare cases, you can also find horned females. A distinctive characteristic of females is that they have a direct profile; in males, it is humpbacked. The tails of both sexes are oily, having a double bend in the form of the letter Z at the end.
The average body weight in sheep is 60–70 kg, in lambs - 45–50 kg. Heights at the withers are about 75–78 cm. At birth, lambs weigh 5–6 kg. The wool of the sheep of the Karakul breed is long, can reach 20 cm. It is heterogeneous in composition and rough to the touch.
The color can be different: black, white, gray, brown, sur. From a fleece trimmed from lambs, they make astrakhan, astrakhan, astrakhan clothes. Adult animals are allowed to make carpets and coarse fabrics.
Performance features: wool, meat
The annual shearing from one animal in the Karakul sheep is not too large - about 2.2–5 kg. The yield of pure fiber is 20–50%.
The animals of this breed have tasty meat and lard.
Those lambs whose wool is not of very high quality are allowed under the knife after they reach a weight of 10-12 kg. Females during lactation are able to produce about 30 kg of milk with a fat content of 7–8%. Sheep of the Karakul breed are fertile - 100 queens bring 130–140 lambs.
Types of astrakhan
Karakul is called the skin of newborn lambs, which was removed at the age of 1-3 days. It is characterized by silkiness, subtlety, elasticity, pronounced gloss, the presence of curls that form a unique pattern.
There are 3 main types of karakul:
- Uzbek (valek, bean) - light, with tight tubular curls.
- Afghan - heavy, with a ribbed-flat pattern.
- South African swakara - lightweight, wear-resistant, with a flat curl forming a ribbed pattern.
According to the type of curls, 2 types of astrakhan are distinguished:
- Flat - with lying curls of irregular shape.
- Tall - with curls similar to tubules lying in a row.
Karakulcha is the skin of premature babies. It is distinguished by subtlety, smoothness, easy extensibility, shine, moire pattern, lack of clear curls. Karakulcha is one of the most expensive varieties of karakul, but at the same time it is characterized by low wear-resistant qualities.
Did you know? In 2015, a sheep was registered in Australia with a maximum number of tonsure - about 40 kg. Cut hair is enough to make 30 sweaters.
Advantages and disadvantages of the breed
- Those sheep farmers who have had experience raising Karakul sheep note the following positive characteristics in them:
- high fertility;
- large milk yields;
- stamina and ability to live in a harsh and hot climate;
- strong immunity;
- high heredity;
- high percentage of survival of young animals;
- the value of fur.
There are practically no shortcomings in the breed. We can name only the grinding of animals when kept not in a dry climate.
Video: Karakul sheep
For keeping sheep a shepherd is needed: it must be insulated, dry. It is necessary to establish high-quality ventilation in it for good air circulation and elimination of excess moisture. The temperature in winter should not drop below + 6 ... + 8 ° С.
Important! If you breed Karakul sheep on pastures with lush grass, the quality of their wool is significantly reduced.
Shearing of Karakul sheep is done twice a year - in autumn and spring. Shear animals with scissors, manual and electric machines.
The described breed is distinguished by strong immunity. Her representatives get sick very rarely - subject to unsanitary living conditions and lack of proper care.
An important condition for keeping sheep is a proper diet. In the menu of animals must be present:
- straw; cereals (oats, rye, corn, wheat);
- legumes (alfalfa, sainfoin);
- fresh vegetables (root vegetables, gourds);
A winter diet may consist of the following ingredients:
- cereals - 25% of the total amount of feed;
- Pancake week cake - 13%;
- salt - 1%;
- dicalcium phosphate - 1%.
Important! It is forbidden to feed the Karakul sheep with swamp grasses, sour cereals, and beets. Young animals should not be given bread.
One female of the Karakul breed brings from 130 to 150 lambs during her life. The puberty of these animals occurs at 6–8 months, but 18 months is considered the optimal age for mating. It was at this time that the body of the sheep was fully prepared for pregnancy and childbirth.
The case should be made during the hunting period of the female, the beginning of which can be determined by the characteristic signs: swelling and redness of the genitals, mucous secretions, aggressive behavior towards other females. The duration of the hunt is 2 days. It is not recommended to happen to animals more than 1 time per year.
Obvious signs of pregnancy are:
- lack of sexual hunting;
- weight gain;
- loss of interest in sheep.
Lambing occurs 5 months after mating. If the animal is healthy, then, as a rule, it does not require human assistance. The owner only needs to prepare a place for childbirth and babies, as well as arrange with the veterinarian in case of complications.
In a normal course, the duration of labor is about an hour.
The interval between the birth of several lambs is 15 minutes. Preparation of the premises for childbirth should be done 1–1.5 weeks before the expected date. If the sheep will give birth in a common room, then she needs to fence off the place, covering it with a high layer of litter.
The following signs indicate the approaching lambing:
- an increase in the size of the udder;
- sagging abdomen;
- swelling of the external genital organs.
When these signs appear, the sheep must be transferred to a room separate from the general herd. In winter, it must be warm, clean and dry. It should have a feeding trough and a drinking bowl.
During lambing, a person should observe the process, so that in case of complications in time to come to the aid of the animal. The sheep independently gnaws the umbilical cord, however, just in case, sharp scissors should be prepared and sanitized. Iodine is also required. The umbilical cord is cut at a distance of 8-10 cm and disinfected with iodine.
We offer you to familiarize yourself with what you need to know about goat lamb.
Also, human help may be needed if the mother did not lick the animal and did not clear his nasal passages. The owner must clean them himself. The first time the lamb should be left near the mother. For 40 minutes it is watered with colostrum. The first feeding of the woman in labor is carried out 4 hours after lambing.
It is important to ensure that the last is timely released. Its exit should occur within 6 hours. During this period, the sheep needs to provide a lot of water.
If during this time the placenta does not appear, you should immediately seek veterinary care. This situation is a complication of lambing, it poses a threat to the health and life of the woman in labor. The left placenta must be immediately removed and buried. The litter on which the birth took place should also be buried. To exclude other complications, the condition and behavior of the sheep must be observed for another 8 days.
Video: How to take birth in a sheep
Lambs are weaned a few days after birth. In the future, they are brought with their mother only for feeding - every 3 hours. Complementary feeding is administered from the 15-20th day of life. At this time, concentrates and hay are introduced. After given decoctions of oatmeal and oilcake.
First, complementary foods should be about 60 g, and then it needs to be increased to 120 g. At the age of three months, the lamb should eat 300 g of complementary foods. Since that time, it can already be gradually transferred to adult feed.
Walking lambs can begin in 2-3 weeks, starting from 15-20 minutes a day and gradually increasing the length of stay in the fresh air to 1 hour.
Today, Karakul sheep are raised in 50 countries: in Iran, Afghanistan, Namibia, South Africa, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. Worldwide, there are about 31 million goals.
Undoubtedly, the sheep of the Karakulskaya breed deserve the attention of sheep breeders. They are unpretentious in care, do not require special nutrition, are very hardy, can live in harsh climatic conditions. Breeding these animals is a profitable business, as the demand for astrakhan and astrakhan fish remains high.