Sheep production on smallholder farms in the Ethiopian highlands- a farming system approach.
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Dibissa, N. 2000. Sheep production on smallholder farms in the Ethiopian highlands- a farming system approach. PhD thesis, Humboldt university.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/79521
A farming systems approach was used to evaluate the importance of sheep production on smallholder farms in the Ethiopian highlands and the productive and reproductive performance of Menz sheep was studied, using a sample of 341 flocks in 9 villages at 2 locations. Relationships between farm resources and livestock herd size and species composition were examined. It was found that landholding size had no direct relationship with livestock herd size, since livestock production depends heavily on communal grazing lands. The reproductive performance of the sheep was high compared with other African sheep in traditional production systems. Unreliable rainfall, increasing human population, small landholding size and declining land productivity are the main threats to these mixed farming systems. Constraints to improved sheep production include seasonality in livestock feed supply and quality, limited daily grazing hours during the major rainy season and limited supplementary feeding practice coupled with lack of anti-helminthic treatment against endoparasitic infestations. KEYWORDS: TROPAG | sheep | reproductive performance | herds | small farms | livestock | farming systems | constraints | farm surveys | Ethiopia.