Sheeps - Coarse Wool

  In the late XIX c. – early XX c. the most popular sheep breed was Coarse wool sheep, a breed of low productivity and long maturing period yet having small demands. There were a few types of them: Pomeranian, Polish long-tailed, thin-tailed (ovis leptura), and Northern short-tailed (ovis brachynarė borealis). Long-tailed sheep, mostly found in Suvalkija, mainly had white covering hair, while sheep and most of rams were hornless, while Northern short-tailed, found more often in Vilnius province, had dark, sometimes even black wool. Their head and leg colour could be different, most of rams had horns. Quite often sheep also had horns; they were thinner than long- and thin-tailed sheep. The crossbreeding process between the above coarse sheep types gradually made the differences smaller, and in most cases created sheep had mixed features. One sheep could yield 1-1.5 kg of grey, white, brownish, or black wool. Sheep weighed 30-40 kg each, and brought forth 2-3 lams. According to productivity trend, these are meat-wool type sheep with little flesh and no accumulated fat, with exceptional off-season heat period.

    In 1995 the Lithuanian Institute of Animal Science started forming a herd of local, almost extinct, Coarse wool sheep. At the moment there are 38 sheep with their productivity factors checked: exterior, weight, also reproductive, milk, wool, and meat qualities. The major aim is to form a local sheep herd of non-related and most typical sheep with the intention to preserve, use and spread the genetic stock of this breed. So far sheep have been crossed naturally according to the breeding plan. In 1999 this herd was recognized thoroughbred.
   In Lithuania the unified sheep marking started in late 2001, and included the remaining local Coarse wool sheep. There are about 100 of the latter (38 at the Lithuanian Institute of Animal Science, 15 at Kaunas Zoological Gardens, 10 at Folk Homestead Museum in Rumšiškės, 30 at farmers farm). Unfortunately, they were never included into herd books. Besides, sheep herd books have been totally neglected since 1993. Today the Lithuanian Sheep Breeders Association is taking care about herd books; local sheep will be registered in the future as well. So far the status of local sheep should be considered critical-supportive with stable minimal number of sheep.