On Farm Performance Evaluation of Abera Sheep Under Abera community-based Breeding program in Hula and Dara Districts, Sidama Regional State, Ethiopia
Keywords:Abera sheep, CBBP, growth traits, on farm
Community-based breeding programs (CBBP) have been viewed as appealing breeding schemes that have significantly contributed to improving the performance of small ruminants in many developing countries. The current study aims to assess the productive and reproductive performance of sheep owned by CBBP households in the Dara and Hula districts of the Sidama region using performance records retained over an eight-year period since 2013. A total of 3552 birth records, 3263 weaning age (90-day) records, 2845 180-day records, and 1786 yearling age (360-day) records were analyzed using the general linear model under Statistical Analysis System (SAS) procedures. The model considered fixed effects like lamb sex, birth type, dam parity, birth year, birth seasons, and breeder cooperatives. Sheep body weight at birth, 90 days, 180 days, and 360 days, as well as pre-weaning daily weight gain and post-weaning daily weight gain, were 3.14±0.01 kg, 15.13±0.06 kg, 20.8±0.05 kg, and 28.89 kg, 135.3±0.5 g, and 63.64 g, respectively. Body weight at birth and at 90 days was significantly influenced by all fixed effects except birth seasons. All considered fixed effects have significantly (p<0.05) affected body growth at 180 days, pre-weaning daily gain, and post-weaning daily weight gain. A mean litter size of 1.19 was recorded in the present study, which was significantly (p<0.05) different across years but not across breeder cooperatives. The results of the current study indicated considerable improvements in the growth traits of sheep since the breeding program was implemented. The consequences of significant fixed effects should be properly incorporated during breeding ram selection, especially at 180 days. The inclusion selection index, along with growth traits under selection and improvements in management, can be an important intervention strategy to improve the prolificacy of sheep.
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