Karayaka Sheep

What is the history of Karayaka Sheep?

There is practically no information about the history of the breed. However, it is likely to be indigenous to Anatolia. Karayaka is the name of a village in the Tokat province which lies close to Samsun and Ordu provinces.

The breed has characteristic features unlike those of any breed outside Turkey. Most of the sheep go to the mountains in the summer in large communal flocks and return for the winter.

What are the characteristics of Karayaka Sheep?

  • The Karayaka is a small-sized breed.
  • Most of the time, rams are horned and ewes are polled (hornless).
  • It is a dual purpose breed producing meat and milk.
  • The wool is used in carpets.
  • The Karayaka is classified as a long thin-tailed breed.
  • The body is usually white but about 10 percent, of the animals are coloured (black or brown).
  • White animals are of two types: Çakrak and Karagöz.
  • In the Çakrak, head, ears, legs and tail are coloured.
  • The Karagöz, which is more numerous, has black marks around eyes and mouth and on the legs; it is more resistant to cold than the Çakrak.
  • The Çakrak is larger than the Karagöz.
  • The tail is thin and long; some animals have a smal fat deposit at the base of the tail.
  • Rams generally have thick spiral horns; ewes are usually hornless.
  • Wool is very coarse but very suitable for matresses.
  • There is a tuft of wool on the forehead.
  • Milk production of the Karayaka is one of the lowest among the native breeds in the country, but the breed is relatively early-maturing.
  • Meat quality is considered good; in this respect.  
  • The Karayaka sheep comes second after Kivircik.
  • The Karayaka has long been raised by pure breeding, largely due to geographical isolation.
  • Karakaya ewes 40 to 45 kg of milk in a 130- to 140-day lactation period.
  • Karakaya ewes produce about 1.8 to 2.4 kg of fleece with a 21 to 28 cm staple length and 39 to 43 micron diameter.

What is the weight of mature Karayaka Sheep?

Karayaka ram is in the range of 70 kg and a mature ewe 35-40 kg.

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