Indigenous Sheep Production in Ethiopia: A Review


1 Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Debre Zeit Agricultural Research Center, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

2 Addis AbabaUniversity, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


Research results and facts of indigenous sheep production were reviewed with the aim of delivering relevant information for the beneficiaries. The common production system used in Ethiopia was the extensive type, which was characterized by small flock sizes and the flock being periodically devastated by diseases. Some indigenous sheep groups of the country were characterized and their names were designated from their commonest niche areas. There are large variations in phenotypic characteristics of indigenous sheep in the country. Social cultures and beliefs of most of the community have been highly attached and attracted by these morphological variations of indigenous sheep in Ethiopia. Consequently, those sheep endowed with attractive coat-colors have always exceeded market values of their counterparts. There is also a genetic variation between and within sheep populations of the country. Moreover, there is also a generation response for selection. Although indigenous sheep producers have many opportunities, they have also many constraints that affect productivity. It can be concluded that breeding and improved production programs for the local sheep should incorporate the production objectives and trait preferences of the society. Presence of diversified phenotypic appearances of local sheep shows the genetic potential for improvement. Hence, this huge gene pool should be used for improvement through good management and traditional selection together with genomic technology.


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Volume 2, Issue 4 - Serial Number 4
December 2012
Pages 311-318
  • Receive Date: 23 September 2011
  • Revise Date: 07 November 2011
  • Accept Date: 24 November 2011
  • First Publish Date: 01 December 2012