Ahmad Kdour Al-Afddal
Raqqa Research Center-
General Commission for Scientific Agricultural Research
Faculty of Zoo Veterinary, Agrarian University, Armenian State,
Sheep breeding dramatically changed in the Republic of Armenia as the genetic material of sheep stocks is threatened by extinction. Thus, about 340 thousand private farms have been established and transformation into market relationships under continuous random breeding. The aims of this study are: clarify sheep breeding situation; improve care conditions, maintain sheep genetic materials, evaluate changes made to wool properties in Armenian lines (such as semi-coarse wool Aragats and Martonin for wool-meat purpose), as well as Mazekh, Bozakh and Karabakh stocks (milk, meat and wool). Based on the above, the body weight, wool fleece, clean wool yield, quantitative relationships of wool staple components (wool fibers), real and natural wool length, and wool fiber thickness (diameter) were studied for samples of body (e.g. right shoulder, flank, spin, haunch and belly) for all experimental animals (145 for Corridel, 160 for semi-coarse wool Armenian sheep and 240 for Mazekh, Bozakh and Karabakh).
Body weight and body index of Corridel stocks and lines showed a moderate fat body, improved breast cavity at all age categories and large bone skeletal coefficient. Also, modern Armenian sheep were better tha their ancestors in term of body weight. Moreover, local sheep stocks (e.g. Mazekh, Bozakh and Karabakh) showed a significant index of body weight, whereas Bozakh sheep showed a highly fat degree. Also, these stocks showed a well-improved breast cavity, as well as trunk length compared to ancestors except for Bozakh sheep which showed a short trunk.
On the other hand, studied stocks had high wool fleece and clean wool yield coincide with productivity purpose for each stock and wool kind (semi soft, semi-coarse and coarse) except for Mazekh sheep which showed low clear wool yield due to care conditions.
The analytical results of wool cover in Aragats and Martonin semi-coarse wool Armenian sheep showed high content of soft fibers and poor content of rough and mediate fibers, with no significant differences (p<0.95) between them. Significant changes were observed among wool components (wool fibers) of recently local sheep stocks (Mazekh, Bozakh and Karabakh). Significant increase in soft, mediate softness versus reduction in course fiber were found. Died and dried fibers with wool cover for both Mazekh and Karabakh were scarce and weren’t found for Bozakh sheep, and the differences between the three sheep stocks were insignificant with fiber wool content (P<0.05).
The study on real and natural wool length showed good length index suitable for each wool type (semi-soft, semi-coarse and coarse) and good wool fiber equalization with all topographical areas of body and within uniform/non-uniform wool staple for all sheep stocks.
Armenian Corridel sheep showed semi-soft wool with the same thickness inside wool staple areas ranging between 50- 56 order. Wool fiber diameter decreased at center and down of the uniform staple for males and females at 1.5 year old. Moreover, animal gender and sampling area showed significant differences in terms of wool fiber thickness (p > 0.95).
Wool diameter of Armenian sheep stocks (Aragats and Martonin) consisted of soft fibers had soft and semi-soft thickness, mediate fiber with moderate softness, and coarse fibers with soft thickness (according to the Russian classification for wool fiber). Thus, Armenian sheep grouped as semi-coarse wool sheep with good degree equalization in wool fiber thickness. Martonin showed significant superiority with wool fiber thickness versus Aragats, thigh significantly surpassed (p>0.95) comparing with other body sampling areas. Mazekh, Bozakh and Karabakh sheep showed a decrease in wool fiber thickness, where the coarse fibers became roughly soft fibers and soft fibers softly and moderately softness, mediate fibers became semi- soft fibers (according to the Russian classification for wool fiber).
This is attributed to the uncontrolled selection and random crossing. Comparing fiber thickness among studied stocks, soft and mediate fibers showed significant superiority in Mazekh compared with Bozakh (p>0.95). Inversely, Mazekh showed less significant difference (p > 0.95) in rough fiber compared with Bozakh. Mazekh ewes showed significant wool fiber thickness compared with Karabakh ewes, which showed significant differences (p > 0.95) with soft and mediate fiber thickness compared with Bozakh ewes. Also, animal age and sampling area had a significant effect on wool fiber thickness (p > 0.95).
Armenian Corridel sheep were characterized by highly wool strength complying with standards required for semi-soft wool (not less than 8 km according to international standards). Armenian sheep with semi-coarse wool showed significant strength complying with semi-coarse wool strength (not less than 9 km). In addition, there were significant differences in wool strength between Aragats and Martonin (p>0.95). Mazekh, Bozakh and Karabakh were characterized by strong wool that meets the coarse wool requirements (not less than 10 km), Mazekh sheep significant surpassed (p>0.95) compared with Bozakh, and Karabakh versus Bozakh. Also, age and sampling areas had a significant effect on wool strength (p>0.95).
Practical value of this research is represented by the possibility of using obtained results as breeding database for genetic improvement programs in semi-coarse wool Armenian sheep, Corridel line and local stocks. According to the wool quality of local stocks, it is recommended to establish an Armenian official index and new technical conditions too.