Common breeds of sheep in Nigeria (local and exotic)

Sheep farming is one of the lucrative agricultural business in Nigeria, it profitability is due to quick growth rate which better than other ruminant like cattle.

Also it utilizes small feeds and the feed can be source locally.

I’m sure you already know that sheep faming is profitable, what you are looking for is the breeds of sheep to farm in Nigeria and this is exactly the purpose of this article: to show you both local and exotic breeds/types of sheep in Nigeria.

There are many sheep that farmer can house but for optimum production farmer must select sheep breeds according to the following classification

  • For meat
  • For wool
  • For milk

And if move further they can also be classify according to their environment. While Nigeria environment is harsh it has been proved that some exotic breeds of sheep can also adapt well to Nigeria environment and this make us classify sheep according to the following

  • Local breeds of sheep
  • Exotic breeds of sheep

Breeds/ types of sheep in Nigeria

Local breeds of sheep in Nigeria (According to environment)

1) Balami
Balami is mostly found in northern part of Nigeria, Borno to be precise, it is white in color, with a hairy body and convex head.

It is the best breeds for meat purpose as it has large muscle and fat deposition and the ram can weigh as much as 60kg while ewe weigh go up to 40kg.

Balami ram has a pronounced horn with a droopy ear and dull appearance, the ewe has no horn. Since it is mostly found in the northern part of Nigeria it adapt well to dry environment and harsh weather condition.

If you are a farmer, this is the best breeds to house as there is high demand of Balami sheep in Nigeria perhaps because of their white color or less fat meat

Summary/ characteristics of Balami sheep

  • It has long tail
  • It has droopy hair and dull appearance
  • Male (ram) possess horn while ewe don’t
  • They comes in pure white
  • Their head shape is convex

Feed: grass, forages and concentrate

Purpose: For meat

Where to find them: Northern part of Nigeria

2) Uda
If you are in southern Nigeria and planning to house this breed, I will advise you not to, uda sheep is known to thrive well only in arid and dry environment.

Uda sheep coat color is black and white, where black is usually at the anterior and the white at the posterior, like Balami they also grow big and sometime more than Balami, the ram can grow as much as 60kg while ewe can attain 40kg of weight.

The ram has horn while ewe has no horn and they are mostly found in the northwestern part of Nigerian

Summary/ characteristics of uda sheep

  • They are majorly found in North West of Nigeria
  • They thrive well in arid and dry environment
  • Ram can attain 60kg weight while ewe can grow to 40kg
  • They come in black and white
  • They have long leg and ear

Feed; grass and legumes

Purpose: for meat

Where to find them: North West of Nigeria

3) Yankasa
Yankasa is the mostly popular breed of sheep in Nigeria and this is due to it adaptation to deferent environment in Nigeria but it is has less weight compare to uda and balami, yankass ram can grow as much as 40kg and possess horn, while the ewe can grow as much as 35kg but have no horn.

It also comes in white color but sometimes have black patches in their leg, eye and ear. Yankass ram can be easily identified with the thick mane at their neck.

If you are a farmer this is the best breeds for you because Yankasa can attain market weight quickly and can be reared anywhere in Nigeria.

Summary/characteristics of Yankasa sheep

  • Ram poses horn while ewe has no horn
  • It majorly found in the north
  • They have white coat color with black patches at the leg, eye, and ear
  • They can adapt to different environment in Nigeria

Purpose: for meat
Feed: grass and legumes
Where to find them: anywhere in Nigeria

4) West African Dwarf sheep (WAD)
As the name implies West African Dwarf sheep is small in weight compare to other breed of sheep, the ram can grow as much as 30kg while the ewe can grow as much as 25kg, they come in many color such as black, white and sometimes bran.

Wad is predominant in south west part of Nigeria due to their tolerance to trypanosomiases.

If you are a farmer, I will advise you to cross this breed with Uda or Yanksa, this will give you a sheep that have high resistance to trypanosomiases and can attain a better weight.

Summary/characteristics of Yankasa sheep

  • They have short legs
  • They are found mostly in the south west of Nigeria
  • They comes in many color
  • They have small body size
  • They have low tolerance to trypanosomiases

Purpose: meat
Feed: grass, legumes, silage and concentrate
Where to find them: anywhere in the south but mostly in the south west of Nigeria

Exotic breeds of sheep that can be farm in Nigeria

Note: Before raising exotic breed of sheep in Nigeria, you need to provide a suitable environment for the type of breed you want to house

1) Merino
Merinos are native to Spain and are reared for their wool. They are hardy, therefore can do well in limited harsh weather condition. The ram have large horn while the ewe has none.

Summary/ characteristics of merino

  • It is reared for wool
  • It has white coat color
  • Ram has large horn
  • It is native to Spain

Purpose: wool
Feed: grass, concentrate and silage
Where to find them: mostly in Spain but can be reared in other part of the world if suitable environment is provided.

2)Rambouilet
This is a developed breed which comes from breeding merino with another breed. The result is a Rambouilet an advance breed capable of producing more wool.

It comes in white color though their coat color often appears has bran due to dirtiness.

Summary/ characteristics of Rambouilet

  • It is developed by French
  • It comes in white
  • Male have large horn while ewe have none

Purpose: wool
Feed: grass, silage concentrate
Where to find them: mostly in Europe

3) Leicester
Leicester is reared for meat and wool. They can be found in United Kingdom. The ram can weigh as much as 100kg while the female can weigh up to 85kg. Both the ram and ewe has no horn.

If you are a farmer looking to house exotic breed for meat purpose Leicester is a best choice because of their body size and ability to attain maturity faster.

Summary/ characteristics of Leicester

  • It is a dual purpose breed
  • Ram can attain 100kg weight and ewe 85 kg weight
  • It has white coat color

Purpose: meat and wool
Feed: grass, silage and concentrate
Where to find them: UK

4)Corriedale
This is a product of cross breed between Merino and Lincoln. It is a dual purpose breed which means it can produce wool and meat.

They are mostly found in Europe and both the ewe and ram have no horn

Summary/ characteristics of Corriedale

  • It is a cross breed
  • They are found mostly in Europe
  • Both ram and ewe have no horn

Purpose: wool and meat
Feed: grass, concentrate and silage
Where to find them: Europe

5) Lincoln
Lincoln is a native of England, though can now be found in other part of Europe.

It is a wool type breed and the ram can weigh as much as 60kg while the ewe can weigh up to 55kg. When fleece it wool can weigh around 4 to 5kg.

Summary

  • Lincoln is prolific i.e. Lincoln ewe can give birth to a lot of lamb
  • It is very good for cross breeding
  • It is white in color.

Purpose: wool
Feed: concentrate, grass and silage
Where to find them: Europe

Question and answer

Which breed of sheep used for fighting in Nigeria?

The best breed of sheep for fighting competition in Nigeria is WAD (West African Dwarf goat) because of their speed and neck thickness. Also they can withstand a lot of blow.

What are the categories of sheep breed?

Sheep are categories as:

  • Meat type
  • Wool type
  • Dual purpose type

What are the most common breeds of sheep in Nigeria?

Most common breeds of sheep in Nigeria are

  • UDA
  • YANKASA
  • BALAMI
  • WEST AFRICAN DWALF (WAD)

 

 

 

 

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