Pelibuey Sheep

What is the history of Pelibuey Sheep?

Pelibuey sheep also called Carnero de pelo de buey, Cuban Hairy, Cubano Rojo, Peligüey, Tabasco (Mexico).

According to the FAO Production Yearbook 1977 there are 346,000 sheep in Cuba. This is more than all the other Caribbean islands together. About 75 percent of these are of the hair breed called originally “Carnero de Pelo de Buey” (i.e. ox-haired sheep) and now shortened to “Pelibüey”. These sheep are also called “Criollo” but they differ from the Criollo of the mainland of Latin America which are wooled sheep descended from the Churro of Spain.

The Pelibüey is probably closely related to the West African, Red African, African or Africana breed of Columbia and Venezuela. It is descended from the West African Dwarf and is found in Cuba, coastal areas of Mexico and other locales in the Caribbean.

What are the characteristics of Pelibuey Sheep?

  • The Pelibuey sheep is raised primarily for meat production.
  • Pelibüey sheep are of all colours including tan (or red), white, tanand-white, black belly and black.
  • The first three colours are the most frequent. The black may in fact be a very dark mahogany red. The red animals are preferred since they are believed to be stronger. Also the red colour is dominant to the white of the Pelibüey (but not to the white of European breeds).
  • Pelibuey Males do carry a throat ruff but usually do not have horns. 
  • Pelibuey wes are also usually polled.
  • It is a hair sheep breed, these animals generally do not grow wool. This adaptation has made them especially useful for tropical environments where heavily wooled sheep do not thrive.
  • Female puberty is normally achieved at 9-12 months depending on the feeding system and the season of birth. There is no evidence of seasonal influence on the presentation of oestrus for animals with a good year-round nutritional regime.
  • Fertility and proliferation rates are, however, higher in the months of June to July than in March to April and October to November. Lambing interval is less than 210 days.

What is the weight of mature Pelibuey Sheep?

Pelibüey ram is in the range of 50 - 55 kg and a mature ewe 35 - 40 kg.

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