Fat-tailed Sheep

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fat-tailed Sheep


breeds of sheep having fat deposits in the tail. They are divided according to the length and shape of the tail into short fat-tailed (Buriat and Mongolian) and long fat-tailed (Karakul, Karachai, Wallachian, Malich, Tushin, and Bozakh) sheep. The tail is an economically useful trait because the fat deposits are a food reserve for the sheep when food is in short supply in winter and during summer droughts. The deposits are also an additional source of meat production. This trait is readily transmitted by heredity.

Fat-Tailed Sheep


breeds of coarse-wooled and semi-coarse-wooled sheep of the meat and lard type, which have fat deposits on the sacrum (kurdiuk). They are adapted to breeding in desert and semidesert regions; they are not particular about fodders and are capable of using poor, sparse pastures and tolerating long migrations. The majority of breeds in this group have characteristically high meat productivity.

The largest fat-tailed sheep are the Gissar, Saradzhin, and Edil’baev breeds. The rams weigh 110–130 kg, sometimes up to 180 kg; the ewes 60–85 kg, sometimes up to 130 kg. The kurdiuk weighs 5–7 kg, in some breeds (Gissar) reaching 20–30 kg. Dressed yield after pasturing is 53–56 percent (maximum, 60 percent).

The wool productivity is low: the average clipping in most breeds is 2.0–2.2 kg. The fleece is not homogeneous and is used to manufacture coarse fabrics, carpets, and felt footwear. In order to improve wool production, fat-tailed sheep are crossbred with fine-wooled and semifine-wooled breeds.

The milk production of fat-tailed ewes reaches 120 kg (35–55 kg of commercial milk). Fertility is 105–120 lambs per 100 ewes.

Fat-tailed sheep are distributed in western China, Iran, Afghanistan, some countries of the Arabian Peninsula, and North Africa. In the USSR they are raised in the republics of Middle Asia and Kazakhstan.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.