Biometrical multivariate study of the Zambian indigenous Fat-tailed sheep.
Mwaanga, Edwell S.
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Body weight and twelve body measurements taken on fifteen ewes and five rams of the Zambian indigenous Fat-tailed were analysed. The sheep were extensively managed in the Southern and driest part of Zambia. The aim of the study was to achieve a preliminary assessment of type and function of the breed based on zoometrical indices produced from combinations of different morphometric values obtained from the field. The body measurements used were body length, cannon perimeter, chest depth, head width and length, heart (thoracic) girth, hip length and width, rump height, head width and lenght, and withers height. From these linear measurements there were derived eleven indices: Body, cephalic, cranial, dactyl<br>thoracic, depth, foreleg length, height, height slope, pelvic, relative cannon thickness, rump-length and weight indexes. The tested indices showed that Zambian indigenous Fat tailed sheep are mildly productive meat animals. The respective coefficient of variation between breeds (flocks/herds) indicates the amount of opportunity available for improving the breed through selection. The need for further investigations is presented but as a matter of fact a separation of Zambian fat-tailed sheep breed from the others could be suspected.