Fat-tailed sheep

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Fat-tailed sheep at a livestock market in Kashgar, China Erector fat tail sheep.jpg
Fat-tailed sheep at a livestock market in Kashgar, China

The fat-tailed sheep is a general type of domestic sheep known for their distinctive large tails and hindquarters. Fat-tailed sheep breeds comprise approximately 25% of the world sheep population, [1] and are commonly found in northern parts of Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, North India, Western China, Somalia [2] and Central Asia. [3]

Two general varieties of fat-tails exist, the broad fat-tails and the long fat-tails. The majority of fat-tailed sheep breeds have broad fat-tails, where the fat is accumulated in baggy deposits in the hind parts of a sheep on both sides of its tail and on the first 3–5 vertebrae of the tail. [4] [5] In the long-tailed sheep the fat is accumulated in the tail itself, which may grow so large that it drags on the ground and hinders copulation. [4]

The earliest record of fat-tailed sheep is found in ancient Uruk (3000 BC) and Ur (2400 BC) on stone vessels and mosaics. Another early reference is found in the Bible (Exodus 29:22 and Leviticus 3:9), where a sacrificial offering is described which includes the tail fat (called Alya, Hebrew: אַלְיָה) of sheep.

Sheep were specifically bred for the unique quality of the fat stored in the tail area and the fat (called Elyah, Arabic: [6] ألية ) was used extensively in medieval Arab and Persian cookery. The tail fat is still used in modern cookery, though there has been a reported decline, with other types of fat and oils having increased in popularity.

19th Century engraving of an eastern breed of fat-tailed sheep Fat-Tailed Breed.jpg
19th Century engraving of an eastern breed of fat-tailed sheep
A shepherd with fat-tailed sheep on a mountainside in Afghanistan Afghanistan 12.jpg
A shepherd with fat-tailed sheep on a mountainside in Afghanistan
Vendor using fat-tailed sheep meat to prepare chuan, in Xinjiang Province, China Fat Tail Sheep carcasses.JPG
Vendor using fat-tailed sheep meat to prepare chuan, in Xinjiang Province, China

Fat-tailed sheep are hardy and adaptable, able to withstand the tough challenges of desert life. When feed is plentiful and parasites not a major factor, fat-tailed sheep can be large in size and growth. The carcass quality of these sheep is quite good, with most of the fat concentrated in the tail area - it could account for as much as 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) of the weight on a 60 pound (27 kilogram) carcass.[ citation needed ] The fat-tailed breeds seen frequently in the US are the Karakul and Tunis.

The wool from fat-tailed breeds is usually coarse and frequently has colored fibers. It would be of limited value in commercial markets. Today it is used primarily for rug-making and other cottage-type industries. Bedouin women make rugs and blankets from the wool. Some of their handiwork can be purchased in the villages of Egypt. Shearing in Egypt is done once or twice a year with hand clippers. There is a reluctance to use electric shears because of wool quality and the difficulty in getting replacement parts when they become dull or worn out.

Breeds

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Karakul sheep sheep breed

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Spælsau sheep breed

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Suffolk sheep British breed of sheep

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Katahdin sheep sheep breed

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Shetland sheep Breed of sheep originating from Shetland Islands, Scotland

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Welsh Mountain sheep sheep breed

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Blackhead Persian sheep sheep breed

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Boreray sheep rare breed of sheep from St Kilda, Scotland

The Boreray, also known as the Boreray Blackface or Hebridean Blackface, is a breed of sheep originating on the St Kilda archipelago off the west coast of Scotland and surviving as a feral animal on one of the islands, Boreray. The breed was once reared for meat and wool, but is now used mainly for conservation grazing. The Boreray is one of the Northern European short-tailed sheep group of breeds.

Meatmaster sheep breed

The Meatmaster is a breed of domestic sheep native to South Africa. Bred in the early 1990s from various hair sheep breeds, the Meatmaster was created with the goal of improving the meat characteristics of African fat-tailed sheep breeds. The fat-tailed sheep had various advantageous characteristics such as hardiness and suitability for desert life, but was slow to mature, had a poor distribution of fat and lacked the muscling of the hind quarters of European breeds. The composite breed increased the amount of muscle and had a better distribution of fat but retained the hair coat and other desirable traits such as resistance to tick-borne diseases and a good flocking instinct.

History of the domestic sheep

The history of the domesticated sheep goes back to between 11000 and 9000 BCE, and the domestication of the wild mouflon in ancient Mesopotamia. Sheep are among the first animals to have been domesticated by humans, and there is evidence of sheep farming in Iranian statuary dating to that time period. These sheep were primarily raised for meat, milk, and skins. Woolly sheep began to be developed around 6000 BCE in Iran, and cultures such as the Persians relied on sheep's wool for trading. They were then imported to Africa and Europe via trading.

Tail fat lamb tail fat

Tail fat is the fat of some breeds of sheep, especially of fat-tailed sheep. It is fat accumulated in baggy deposits in the hind parts of a sheep on both sides of its tail and on the first 3–5 vertebrae of the tail. The weight of this part of a sheep's anatomy may be up to 30 kg (66 lb). These hind parts are used to accumulate fat for subsequent use during dry seasons, similar to a camel's humps.

The Pinzirita or Pinzunita is a breed of domestic sheep indigenous to the Mediterranean island of Sicily, Italy. Its name derives from pinzuni, the Sicilian language name for the chaffinch, Fringilla coelebs, which it is thought to resemble in colouring. It is also known as the Siciliana comune, or "common Sicilian sheep". It is distributed throughout most of Sicily, except for the southern coast, where the Comisana is preferred, and the hills of the provinces of Agrigento, Caltanissetta and the southern part of the province of Palermo, where the Barbaresca is predominant. Like the Leccese and Altamurana, it belongs to the Zackel sheep group. It is a hardy and frugal breed, well adapted to survival on poor mountain pasture and in the macchia mediterranea biome of inland Sicily.

Edilbay sheep, also known as Edilbaev(skaya) sheep, are a breed of domesticated sheep which originated in northern Kazakhstan. This breed belongs to the coarse-wooled fat-tailed type of sheep and the Kazakh group. It originated in the 19th century as a cross between Kazakh fat-tailed sheep and Kalmyk/Astrakhan coarse-wooled sheep. Today, it is found in Kazakhstan and Russia.

Sheep farming in Azerbaijan

Sheep farming in Azerbaijan is directed to the production of meat, fiber (wool) and dairy products. It is considered as an old animal husbandry branch and usual for around the country. Production in variety fields such as wool, meat and dairy products makes sheep farming leading animal husbandry field in the country. There are few pasture areas in Azerbaijan and it shows negative impact on the productivity of the sheep breeding.

References

  1. Davidson, Alan (1999). Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp.  290–293. ISBN   978-0-19-211579-9.
  2. Rigby, C. P (1867). "On the Origin of the Somali Race, Which Inhabits the North-Eastern Portion of Africa". Transactions of the Ethnological Society of London. 5: 91. doi:10.2307/3014215. JSTOR   3014215.
  3. Reay Tannahill, 1973, Food in History p. 62 and 176. ISBN   0-8128-1437-1
  4. 1 2 Jill Tilsley-Benham (1987): “Sheep with Two Tails: Sheep's Tail-Fat as Cooking Medium in the Middle East.” (Pages 47–48, see google books) In: Tom Jaine (ed.), The Cooking Medium, proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 1986, London, Prospect Books 1987. ISBN   090732536X. Retrieved 13 October 2017
  5. Wikisource-logo.svg  "Курдюк"  . Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary (in Russian). 1906.
  6. http://www.almaany.com/ar/dict/ar-en/ألية/
  7. https://mofa.gov.mn/livestock/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=48&Itemid=72&lang=en