Characterization of the production system and breeding practices of sheep producers in Tahtay Maychew District, Northern Ethiopia




Abstract. Melak A, Hailu A, Assefa A, Aseged T, Sinkie S, Tsion S. 2021. Characterization of the production system and breeding practices of sheep producers in Tahtay Maychew District, Northern Ethiopia. Intl J Trop Drylands 5: 5-11. The study was conducted in Tahtay Maychew district of the central zone of Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. The objective of the study was to understand the sheep production system, the breeding practices, selection criteria, and sheep production constraints to identify sheep farming practices about future production strategies in the study area. A total of 70 households from 2 kebeles (lower administrative structure) were selected purposively based on sheep population and production potential and accessibility. Data was collected through semi-structured questionnaires, focus group discussions, and key informants. An index was calculated to provide an overall ranking of the purpose of keeping sheep, culling rams and ewe, according to the formula: Index = ? of [3 for rank 1 + 2 for rank 2 + 1 for rank 3]. It is concluded that both female and male sheep are maintained mainly for income generation followed by breeding. A variable that was given a higher priority in selecting breeding males and females was body size. Disease, feed shortage, lack of grazing, and predator are the major constraints of sheep production mentioned in the study area. Therefore, addressing these constraints is important to design a successful genetic improvement scheme in the area for sheep.


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