Flock Dynamics, Linear Body Measurement and Body Weight Variation of Gumuz Sheep in Assosa District, Benishangul Gumuz Regional State, Western Ethiopia

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Befikadu Zewdie
Mulat Yigzaw
Takele Wolkaro


The study aimed to estimate flock structure, body length, heart girth and height at wizard and body weight variation of Gumuz Sheep in Assosa district. Flocks of 30 households with a total of 171 sheep were monitored for 8 months. The results revealed that the highest flock sizes were recorded in the wet season (July and August). The number of sheep that entered flocks through birth was significantly (p<0.05) higher in July (0.55 ±0.11) and August (1.11 ±0.11). The majority of sales of sheep took place in April (0.45 ±0.09) and May (0.25 ±0.09) which coincides with Ethiopian Easter celebrations and Muslim holidays. High numbers of all age classes of sheep mortalities were documented during the dry (February, March and April) and cool (January) seasons. The sheep production potential (SPP) was significantly (p<0.05) higher in large flocks (1.13±0.04) than in small flocks (0.90±0.05) and it was higher (p<0.05) in May, June and July. The high sheep production efficiency (SPE) and off-take were recorded during April and May. Greater sheep production efficiency in the months of April and May indicate that a large number of mature and growing sheep were sold by farmers. The overall least squares mean body weight (BW) of sheep was 26.06±0.33kg. A strong correlation between height at wizard (HW) and body weight was observed, for males (r=0.79) and females (r=0.81). Month had a significant (p<0.05) effect on body weight and all other body parameters. The higher body weight was recorded in June, July and August, because the potential of feed supplies, both in quantity and quality during these months. Mortality in lambs was higher in the dry season which might be associated with nutritional stress coupled with disease problems. From the study it was concluded that limited feed resources in dry season and disease problem were the main constraints that retard live weight and economic performance of sheep production in the study areas. Based on the conclusion strengthening the practice of feed resource conservation for dry season and design appropriate disease prevention strategy are recommended to improve live weight performance and reduce mortality of sheep.


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