Tsigaysky sheep: description and features of the breed
Sheep are a source of high-quality wool and tasty meat, so they are raised in many farms, and Tsigayskaya is considered one of the best breeds. These animals are characterized by high meat and wool productivity, as well as attractive appearance and comparative unpretentiousness to the conditions of detention. A detailed description of Qigai sheep and performance characteristics, the pros and cons of the breed, the reproduction of animals and the features of caring for them are listed further in the article.
Since ancient times, the animals of this breed have high endurance and are characterized by unpretentiousness in feeding, therefore, they can travel considerable distances without compromising meat productivity. The appearance of Qigai sheep has characteristic features, by which they can easily be distinguished from representatives of other species of these animals.
Did you know? Unlike most other animals, sheep have rectangular pupils.
Tsigaysky breed of sheep is the result of folk selection and was bred many centuries ago in Greece and Asia Minor. Over the centuries, local residents have improved the characteristics of animals of this species, achieving greater breed productivity, as well as maintaining high endurance of sheep.
Already from the end of the 18th century, Tsigai sheep began to be bred en masse in Europe with the aim of obtaining high-quality meat, wool and milk. In 1914, emigrants from the Balkan Peninsula brought these animals to the territory of Russia, and local residents crossed Tsigai rams with merino females to produce offspring with improved quality of wool. Today, the Tsigai breed is one of the most popular and is actively bred in large and small farms.
According to the type of productivity, the Tsigai sheep breed is divided into two directions - meat-wool and wool-meat. But representatives of both subgroups have similar features of appearance, indicating the animals belong to this breed.
Important! The wool of Tsigai sheep is characterized by high strength and is not prone to stalling, therefore it is used for the manufacture of various fur products.
The main characteristics of the appearance of the Qigai sheep are listed below:
- Animals have a strong massive body, characterized by a dry constitution. The body of the animals is barrel-shaped, medium in size with a wide and deep chest.
- The back, withers and sacrum of the Tsigai sheep are quite wide, and the skeleton of the animal is very strong and strong. The long and thin tail consists of 18–23 vertebrae.
- Animals have strong correctly set legs and strong hooves, which successfully support the weight of a large body.
- The Qigai sheep has a thick neck and a medium-sized head, which has a neat oval shape. In males on the upper part of the head there are large swirling horns, and females are hornless.
- In newborn lambs, dense skin has characteristic folds that smooth out as they grow older. Adults have an elastic and smooth skin.
- The weight of an adult Qigai ram is 75–85 kg, and females gain a mass of about 45–50 kg. Young individuals aged 4.5 months reach a weight of 30 kg.
- The hair of animals is painted white, has a uniform density and density.
Advantages and disadvantages of Qigai sheep
Before you begin to breed Tsigai sheep on your own, you need to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of this breed.
- The main advantages of animals of this species are:
- high meat and dairy productivity;
- excellent quality of wool;
- animal endurance;
- unpretentiousness to climate conditions and feeding;
- early puberty of young individuals;
- good growth rates of young animals;
- fast weight gain;
- high fecundity of females.
- In addition to numerous positive qualities, animals are not without drawbacks:
- representatives of this breed need pastures located on hills and hills;
- susceptibility of animals to diseases when kept in wet climates;
- difficult tolerance of frost, snowfall and prolonged rain;
- increased fragility of bones with a lack of minerals in the daily diet.
Tsigai sheep give excellent quality wool, which is great for making warm and durable fur products, and is also easy to dye in any color. Soft and homogeneous threads are obtained from the runes of these animals, which serve as excellent raw materials for the manufacture of high-quality and durable fabrics.
Important! Shearing of Qigai sheep is carried out in late April or early May in dry and warm weather.
The main performance characteristics of the wool of this breed are listed below:
- 6–7 kg of a high-quality rune can be obtained from an adult male, and up to 5 kg from a female;
- the length of the finished wool fiber is 10-15 cm;
- the coat is very soft and thin, and its composition contains 80% of down;
- the fleece of Qigai sheep has a 44–56th level of quality;
- the yield of washed wool is about 55-60%.
Many farmers breed Tsigai sheep in order to obtain high-quality meat. Young individuals of this breed quickly gain weight, so soon after birth they can be sent for slaughter.
The main characteristics of the meat productivity of the Tsigai sheep breed are presented below:
- slaughter meat yield is about 50–55%;
- daily weight gain of young individuals, subject to growing conditions, can reach 450 g;
- to get the meat, the lambs are sent to slaughter from the age of 5 months;
- carcasses are characterized by excellent commercial qualities and good taste;
- animal meat consists mainly of muscle tissue, and the amount of fat in it is small.
The sheep of the Qigai breed are characterized by seasonal reproduction. The case of sheep and females is usually carried out in late August or early September, focusing on signs of the onset of sexual hunting. After the birth of the offspring, the lactation begins in the ewe.
The main characteristics of the fecundity and milk production of Tsigai sheep are listed below:
- females are precocious and reach puberty by the age of 4 months;
- animals bear offspring within 143-150 days;
- lambing occurs once a year, in winter;
- at one time the female produces 1–2 cubs;
- the lactation period in representatives of the Qigai breed lasts for 4 months;
- for the entire time of feeding the offspring, the female gives 100-120 liters of milk;
- milk is characterized by a high protein content and fat content of 7–8%, therefore it is used for the production of elite varieties of cheese and feta cheese.
The main features of reproduction of representatives of this breed are listed below:
- the female is recommended to happen with the ram only after she has gained weight more than 40 kg;
- the duration of the sexual cycle of ewes is about 17 days, and hunting lasts for 38 hours;
- the main signs of the onset of sexual intercourse are animal anxiety, loss of appetite, redness of the genitals and estrus;
- if fertilization did not take place as a result of the mating, then after 16-17 days the female begins to hunt again;
- for successful fertilization, it is recommended that the Qigai sheep be taken twice - in the first few hours from the beginning of estrus, and then again after a day;
- the onset of pregnancy is indicated by the absence of sexual hunting and the calm behavior of the female 3 weeks after the mating, but only the veterinarian can accurately confirm the diagnosis;
- after confirming the pregnancy, the ewe needs to ensure calm and a quality diet;
- before lambing, the female becomes restless and looks for a secluded place - for childbirth the animal must be placed in a separate clean paddock;
- the process of lambing in the absence of complications lasts about 1 hour and does not require human intervention;
- newborn lambs begin to search for food within 20 minutes after birth, therefore, at the end of lambing, it is recommended to wash the udder of the female with soda solution and remove contaminated wool;
- after harvesting in the pen, the female is left alone with the offspring.
Did you know? To determine the early pregnancy of a sheep, you can let a ram into the pen with the females - he will quickly distinguish pregnant individuals and will show interest only in unfertilized females.
Care and longevity
Tsigai sheep are not very whimsical to the conditions of cultivation and the composition of the diet, but with a lack or low quality of food, the condition of the animal’s coat deteriorates noticeably. And in the cold season, representatives of this breed need more care, as they do not tolerate cold and rainfall.
The main features of keeping and feeding Qigay sheep are listed below:
- in the warm season, sheep are driven out to pasture from 5 in the morning until dark, returning them to the stall for watering for a short time in the middle of the day;
- so that the flock does not get wet during short summer rains, it is recommended to build an indoor canopy for it - under it, animals can hide from inclement weather while in the fresh air;
- in the summer, an adult ram needs about 10 kg of fresh grass daily, and female individuals up to 8 kg;
- animals need to be regularly drunk - at least 8 liters of room temperature water is needed for each adult;
- during cold weather and long rains, as well as in winter, representatives of this breed should be kept in shelters with wooden walls and clay floors covered with a thick layer of dry straw;
- the premises for keeping the flock should be warm and dry (at least +5 ... + 10 ° C in winter and + 20 ° C in summer), with a good ventilation system and the absence of drafts;
- inside the structure, feeders and drinking bowls should be installed, as well as individual pens for pregnant sheep and newborn lambs;
- compartments for feed and water must be kept clean, as animals will not drink muddy water or eat stale food;
- for each representative of the flocks there should be 3 m² of free space;
- in winter, an adult should receive at least 2 kg of hay and vegetables a day, as well as animal feed, mineral supplements, chalk and iodized salt;
- young lambs begin to be gradually accustomed to vegetables and shallow hay 2 weeks after birth, and at the age of 4 months they completely excommunicate the cubs from the female;
- in winter, the flock is recommended to be released daily to fresh air, provided there is no precipitation and severe frost;
- After wintering, animals are gradually transferred to the summer diet - on the first day, the sheep are driven out to pasture for 2-3 hours, and then each day they are longer in the fresh air.
Important! The average life expectancy of sheep is 12-14 years.
With improper care or violation of the conditions of detention, Tsigai sheep can get sick. The list of diseases most often occurring in animals of this breed is presented below:
- Helminthiasis. Worms infect the lungs and liver of an animal, and infection occurs when the conditions for keeping sheep are violated or grazing in a wet pasture with poor quality grass. Signs of this disease are diarrhea and lethargy, loss of appetite, exhaustion of the animal and hair loss. The treatment of helminthiasis is prescribed by a veterinarian, and special anthelmintic agents are used to combat the disease.
- Bone fragility. The disease occurs as a result of an improper diet of sheep. As a result of this, the limbs of animals become weak and cannot support the weight of a large body, bone fractures occur. To cure the disease, it is enough to adjust the diet by adding mineral substances to it.
- Rotting of hooves. It occurs when grazing flocks in wetlands or in the forest, as well as in violation of sanitary conditions in the premises for keeping sheep. Signs of hoof rot include the lameness of the animal and its inability to independently rise to its feet. If this disease is detected, trimming of the hooves is performed, and additional medications can be prescribed to relieve inflammation.
- Pneumonia. The disease spreads among the livestock when keeping animals in a damp room with a draft, as well as early shearing. The main symptoms of the disease are lethargy and loss of appetite, fever up to + 41 ° C, heavy breathing and purulent discharge from the nose. Treatment is with antibiotics (e.g. "Streptocide", "Neomycin") and is prescribed by a veterinarian.
To prevent the occurrence of these diseases, you must adhere to such recommendations:
- annually perform autumn disinfection of the premises for keeping animals with a solution of whiteness;
- monitor the cleanliness and dryness of the litter in the nightmare;
- use sunny and dry areas with quality grass for sheep walking;
- regularly clean drinking bowls and feeders, filling them with fresh water and feed;
- eliminate cold drafts and dampness in the room for keeping flocks;
- periodically inspect the herd in order to detect diseased individuals and place them in quarantine.
Did you know? Sheep have excellent memory, and newborn lambs are able to recognize their mother by remembering her voice.
Representatives of this breed adapt well to various climate conditions, so they are bred in many countries. In northern areas with frosty and snowy winters, animals can be kept in warm shepherds, where they fully retain their high productivity.
Sheep of this breed are successfully raised in the following countries:
Due to its many positive qualities, the Tsigai sheep breed is common among livestock farmers in many countries and is actively bred to produce tasty meat and quality wool. By following the recommendations listed in this article, you can breed these animals yourself, and caring for them does not require much time and effort from the farmer.