What is the history of Dubrovnik Sheep?
The Dubrovnik sheep is the most endangered Croatian indigenous sheep breed. The Dubrovnik (Dubrovačka) sheep is a triple-purpose breed found along the Adriatic coast near the city of Dubrovnik and offshore on the islands of Šipan, Lopud and Koločep.
In the past each family had from fifteen to twenty sheep, but now most holdings range from one to six. In the summer, the sheep graze in the owners' olive groves and vineyards. During the winter they are stall-fed with olive leaves, hay, and bran. Throughout the year, the sheep are tended and milked only by women.
What are the characteristics of Dubrovnik Sheep?
To the description of Dubrovnik Sheep white-faced, polled breed, the rams are sometimes horned, the nose is bare and slightly convex, but there is a woollytop knot, the tail is long.
Dubrovnik Sheep is mainly used for milk (for cheese) and from the sale of lambs slaughtered at 35–40 days. The ewe is milked from February until July, with yield declining from a maximum of two litres daily at the beginning of lactation, to about one-half litre at the end.
Dubrovnik ewes milk production 130 to 150 liters, lambing is 145 percent, and a long breeding season, from autumn to spring. Ewes often lamb three times in two years. Twins are common; triplets and quadruplets are not unusual. Both sexes will mate in their first year.
The fleece weight is from 1 to 2 kg. Fine medium wools, diameter within the range of 28–30 μm. In the Middle Ages the city of Dubrovnik had a well-developed wool-textile industry. The Dubrovnik is well adapted to the mild climatic conditions of the coast. Feed requirements are minimal. The breed is declining rapidly, and is endangered.
What is the weight of mature Dubrovnik Sheep?
Dubrovnik rams is in the range of 50–55 kg and a mature Dubrovnik ewes 45 – 50 kg.
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