How To Identify Good Breeds Of Sheep In Nigeria: You Need This

How To Identify Good Breeds Of Sheep In Nigeria: You Need This

Knowing the different breeds of sheep in Nigeria and their characteristics is very important for every sheep farmer in Nigeria. As a sheep farmer, your knowledge of these different breeds of sheep in the country will help you in making your decisions regarding the particular sheep breed you want to rear in your farm.

If you are considering venturing into sheep farming business in Nigeria, then you really need to understand every detail about the different breeds of sheep we have in Nigeria. You need to know which breed is best for milk production, meat production, and hide production. The different breeds of sheep in Nigeria also come in different sizes (small, medium, and large sizes)

Also Read: The best way to start ram and sheep rearing business in Nigeria

Imagine a situation where you want start a sheep farming business in Nigeria for the purpose of milk production and you bought the breeds best suited for meat production. You have already defeated the purpose of starting your sheep farming business because you lack the basic knowledge of the different breeds of sheep in Nigeria

This article will focus on the different breeds of sheep and their characteristics. This is to help you make an informed choice when starting your livestock farming business in Nigeria. If you are already into the business of livestock farming, this article will also help you retrace your steps if you have gone wrong in the course of your livestock farming business.

Breeds Of Sheep In Nigeria And Their Characteristics

There are four major local breeds of sheep in Nigeria, they include;

  • Yankasa
  • Uda
  • Balami
  • West African Dwarf

The Yankasa Breed

Breeds of sheep

This is one of the breeds of sheep found in Nigeria. It is mostly found in northern part of the country. This Yankasa breed of sheep is the most common and widely distributed in Nigeria. The Yankasa sheep breed is intermediate in size. Just between the West African Dwarf sheep breed and the Uda sheep breed.

Read: How to start pig farming in Nigeria 

Characteristics of the Yankasa sheep breed

  • The rams posses white curved horns with heavy hairy white mane around their neck.
  • It has a long and thin tail with moderately long and droopy ears.
  • They are mainly white in color with patches of black around their eyes, ears, muscle, and feet.
  • The adult Yankasa ram weighs between 30kg – 45kg, while the adult ewe (female sheep) weighs between 25kg – 40kg.

The Uda Breed

Breeds of sheep

It is found mostly in the Sahel-Sudan vegetation of Nigeria, which is mostly in the North West geopolitical zone of the country. The Uda is among the four major breeds of sheep found in Nigeria today. This particular sheep breed has the ability to survive in any dry and hot environment. The one thing that is bag about this particular sheep breed in Nigeria is their very low survival rate outside their immediate environment.

Characteristics of the Uda Breed

  • It has a very distinct skin color pattern. The front part of the sheep is either brown or black while the posterior part is white in color.
  • It has very long and large legs with swinging earlobes.
  • Mature rams of this sheep breed have wide, large and spiral horns while the ewes have no horns.
  • The adult ram of the Uda breed weighs between 35kg – 60kg while their female counterpart weighs between 30kg – 45kg.
  • This sheep breed is adapted to an extensive type of grazing.

The Balami Sheep Breed

Breeds of sheep

Found in North-Eastern Nigeria, mostly in Borno State. This is a very large local sheep breed in Nigeria. It is mostly reared for meat production and just like the Uda sheep breed, it can survive in very hot and dry environment.

Characteristics of Balami sheep breed

  • It has very large and droopy ears with thin and long tails.
  • The males (rams) have horns while the ewes (female sheep) have no horns.
  • The ram weighs between 40kg – 60kg at maturity while the ewes weigh between 30kg – 45kg at maturity.
  • The skin color of the Balami is predominantly white.
  • The shape of the face is distinctively convex.

West African Dwarf

Breeds of sheep

Just like the name implies, the West African dwarf sheep breed is very small in size compared to the Uda and Balami breeds. It is mostly found in the Southern and South-Western part of Nigeria. This particular breed of sheep is very strong and resistant to trypanosomiasis infection and disease.

Characteristics of the West African Dwarf breed

  • It comes in different color combinations. Some are all white in color, all black, or even brown. While others have a black or brown spot on a white coat.
  • Many of them have wattles around their neck
  • The rams have horns while the ewes have not..
  • At full maturity, the rams weigh between 20kg – 30kg while the ewes weigh between 14kg – 25kg.

So, if you are hoping to start sheep farming in Nigeria, or you are into this livestock business already, this article will greatly help you to understand the different breeds of sheep in Nigeria. Aside from giving you this needed information, you have also seen their different characteristics and abilities. I hope you enjoyed your reading of this article.


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