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Sheep and wool production systems in Nepal

Sheep farming is important in the Nepalese hill and mountain economics. The sheep are popular mainly for wool, meat, manure and pack use. The country has 0.870 million sheep and these produce 720 mt wool annually. The annual growth of the sheep population is 2.4 percent.

The main native breeds are Bhyanglung (4 percent), Baruwal (63 percent), Kage (21 percent) and Lampuchhre (12 percent), and these comprise 95 percent of the total sheep population. Only 5 percent of sheep are estimated to be cross-bred. The annual wool production per sheep is low (0.3 – 1.2 kg) compared to well-fed exotic sheep (3.5 kg).

The wool fibre of native sheep is of medium to coarse diameter type. Bulk values range from 22.0 (Bhyanglung) to 25.4 (Polwarth 75 percent cross). Most of the sheep are raised under a migratory system of management (63 percent), and lamb mortality may be as high as 50 percent.

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