Sheep are kept primarily for mutton production in the country but wool is an important secondary product. Wool produced in the country is of coarse type and is used for carpet manufacturing. Khutta breed of sheep is indigenous in Swat. It is small sized breed (average adult weight: 26.5 kg) and has medium quality wool (average wool fibre diameter: 30.3µ). A Rambouillet breeding flock was imported from the USA. The flock was kept at the Livestock Research Station, Jaba to upgrade the native sheep. Crossbreeding was carried out by distributing more than 4,000 purebred Rambouillet rams in Malakand, Hazara, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit area. Technical backstopping was also provided to the participating sheep farmers.
This programme became a huge success. More than 90 percent of the sheep populations in Swat and Kaghan valleys are now crossbred. Body weight of the crossbred sheep is higher than local breed (23 % improvement). Similarly wool production increased from 0.8 kg to 1.8 kg (118% improvement) and wool quality improved from a fibre diameter of 30.3µ to 21.1µ. The price of the wool increased three times because of its improved quality and increased demand by the local industry. The farmers’ income increased by 30 % per sheep sold. The programme is continuing.
Khan, M.F., 2001. Genetic improvement of local sheep breed through crossbreeding with Rambouillet for mutton and wool production in Swat valley of Pakistan. Biotechnology in Animal Husbandry, 17(5-6):63-69.
Nawaz, M., Meyer, H.H., Jadoon, J.K., Naqvi, M.A., 1992. Results from adaptability trial of Rambouillet sheep and their crossbreeding with Kaghanis: Effects on ewe mating weight, wool production, litter size and lamb growth. Asian Austral-Asian Journal of Animal Science. 5(3):481-485.