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Taye M.,Bahir Dar University | Taye M.,Hawassa University | Abebe G.,Hawassa University | Lemma S.,Debreberhan Agricultural Research Center | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances | Year: 2011

On-farm data were collected to evaluate reproductive performance and survival of Washera sheep raised under traditional smallholder production systems in the North-Western highlands of the Amhara National Regional State, Ethiopia. The data were from flocks of 110 households from October, 2004 to September, 2007. Mean age and weight at first lambing were 464.2±14.0 days and 24.7±0.5 kg, respectively. None of the fixed effects considered affected age at first lambing although, weight at first lambing was affected (p<0.05) by district and parity. Ewes from primiparous ewes and from Quarit district had heavier weight at their first lambing. Lambing interval (269±6.2 days) was affected by district, lambing season, parity and birth type. The average number of lambs per ewe lambing was 1.19±0.02 and varied (p<0.0001) with lambing year and postpartum ewe body weight. Mean postpartum ewe body weight was 31.0±0.2 kg and influenced (p<0.01) by district, year, season, parity and type of birth. Cumulative survival from birth to 30, 90, 180, 270 and 365 days was 98.4±0.6, 93.6±0.9, 91.2±1.1, 90.0±l .2 and 89.9±1.2 days, respectively. Except at the age of 30 days, district, season, birth type and birth weight affected (p<0.05) survival. No interactions between any fixed effects were significant and thus were removed from the model. Postpartum ewe body weight as a covariate did not affect litter size. The higher survival rate indicates that the area is of low disease load and the farmers practice to decrease lamb mortality need to be encouraged and improved. The influence of different fixed effects on reproductive performances indicated that through different management and breeding practices it is possible to increase the productivity of these breed of sheep. © Medwell Journals, 2011.

Mengistie T.,Andassa Livestock Research Center | Girma A.,Hawassa University | Solomon G.,Debreberhan Agricultural Research Center | Sisay L.,Debreberhan Agricultural Research Center | And 4 more authors.
Livestock Research for Rural Development | Year: 2010

A study was conducted to describe the production systems and management practices and investigate the physical linear body measurements of Washera sheep in the traditional farming systems in the western highlands of the Amhara National Regional State, Ethiopia. Data was collected using focus group discussion and field measurements. The agricultural production system in the study area was mixed crop-livestock. Livestock production and crop production complement each other in such a way that livestock are used as a source for draft and manure for crop production and from crop production the crop residues, straws and aftermath serve as main components of livestock feeds in the study areas. The main component of feed for sheep is communal pasture. Farmers house their sheep throughout the year together with other livestock separated by a woodlot. Breeding is allowed year round. Docking the fat tail of ewe lambs, for ease of mating, is a common practice. The average flock size per household obtained in the present study was 9.58 sheep. The total flock age composition was 52.2, 9.9, 8.3, 5.2 and 24.3%, young stock with milk teeth, sheep with 1 pair of permanent incisor (PPI), 2 PPI, 3 PPI and 4 PPI & above, respectively. The overall least squares mean of body weight, wither height, body length, heart girth, pelvic width and ear length obtained were 26.7±0.45 kg, 69.0±0.36 cm, 57.7±0.33 cm, 74.4±0.49 cm, 14.3±0.12 cm and 9.73±0.08 cm, respectively. The fixed effects of district, sex, dentition and the interaction between sex & dentition were sources of variation for the most of the response variables. The high correlation coefficients observed between body weight and heart girth for all dentition groups suggest that heart girth alone or in combination with other body measurements could provide a good estimate for predicting live weight of Washera sheep at different dentition groups. The differences in the coefficient of determination of the equations fitted between different dentition groups indicated that weight can be estimated using different equations for different age groups with different accuracies.

Girma A.,Debreberhan Agricultural Research Center | Tefera B.,Debreberhan Agricultural Research Center | Dadi L.,Catholic Relief Society Ethiopia
Food and Chemical Toxicology | Year: 2011

Neurolathyrism in Ethiopia is caused by food dependency on grass pea (Lathyrus sativus L.). In the study area, a large proportion of the farmers are growing grass pea since it can withstand harsh environments. Socio-economic factors (poverty; lack of money to buy other food legumes) and environmental problems (such as water logging and frost hazards) influence consumption of grass pea. Most of the respondents have the idea that some chemical contained in grass pea causes a health problem. Different processing and preparation methods are used to prepare grass pea into different food forms. The major processing methods include washing and soaking, as the farmers apply these methods mainly because they assume that the chemical that causes lathyrism, scientifically known as β-ODAP (β-N-oxalyl-l-α,β-diaminopropionic acid) is reduced through washing and soaking. The farmers adopt different strategies to avoid the problem of lathyrism such as avoiding consumption of grass pea in the form that they suspect to cause the problem, blending/mixing with other crops, applying different processing/detoxification methods. Since grass pea is consumed with a fear of lathyrism, future research should concentrate either on developing grass pea varieties with safe level of β-ODAP content or improving the traditional/indigenous processing methods. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

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