Bovska Sheep
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About Bovska SheepAbout Bovska Sheep



Bovska Sheep got their name from the small town Bovec thatrnlies in upper Soflorina valley which is in the Northwest part of Slovenia nearrnthe Italian border. In Trenta valley this breed is also called trentarka or purerntrentarka if it has the short ears sometimes seen with this breed.

rnrnThe Bovska sheep breed originated in the white sheep whichrnwere once distributed throughout the Alps. Bleiweis (1871) mentioned thernTrbiska sheep breed and reported that sheep with shorter ears produced morernmilk. Pirc reported that Tolminska and Bovska sheep breeds originated from thernpeat sheep while in the German literature it is stated that in some Alpinernvalleys and swampy areas Stonesheep (Steinschafe) or Zaupelschafe were foundrnwhich could have been the ancestor of modern breeds in this area. Sheep arernusually bred in small flocks of ten to twenty animals, but sometimes 40 orrnmore. After the lambs are weaned the ewes are milked in the mountain pasturesrnwith all milk being used for cheese production. Most of it is used at home butrnrecently it has been sold in the mountain pastures.

rnrnThe Bovska sheep breed used to be reared in the wider arearnof Tolmin but after 1950 the number of sheep decreased quickly. Mountainrnpastures on which sheep and goats grazed have been abandoned. In some areasrncattle have replaced sheep and goats on the Alpine pastures. In the Tolmin arearnabout 20 mountain pastures for sheep existed. In the years between 1984 andrn1994 only three mountain pastures for sheep remain with a total ofrnapproximately 600 sheep. But the number of sheep as well as of sheep breedersrnhas been decreasing. Now sheep are kept only in the Trenta valley and in somernsmaller valleys like Koritnica and Lepena in the upper Soflorina valley. It isrnestimated that only 800 individuals of this breed still exist.

rnrnEwes and rams do not have horns. An adult ewe weighs from 35rnto 40 kg and a ram from 45 to 50 kg. Ewes lamb once a year and about 10% haverntwins. Ewes with twins are not selected for further breeding. Wool is veryrncoarse, fibers are 44 microns thick. They shear between 1.2 and 1.5 kg wool arnyear per sheep. Wool is not used even for home production any more. The Bovskarnsheep breed is primarily white, but some animals are black or brown. The headrnis small with a convex profile. The forehead is partly covered by wool. It isrntypical for the sheep in Trenta valley to have small ears, sometimes resemblingrnstumps and it is difficult to mark them. These sheep are called trentarka. In Bovec and in the vicinity sheep are heavier and havernlonger ears.

rnrnThe Bovska sheep breed is extensively reared. During thernwinter animals are fed small amounts of hay and branches of bushes so that theyrnlose weight from December to April. This low level of nutrition often resultsrnin abortion of twinning pregnancies. In some ewes with twin pregnancy one ofrnembryos dies and is reabsorbed so that the ewe produces only one lamb.

rnrnMilk is the main product of the Bovska sheep breed. Afterrnthe weaning ewes are milked for 100 and 140 days. Ogrizek (1948) estimated thernproduction at 65 to 80 kg during lactation. In recent years the SelectionrnService controls the milk yield in some flocks. The milk yield of the Bovskarnsheep breed in controlled flocks is higher than on average since only betterrnflocks are controlled. Table 1 shows the milk yield results. In the mountainrnpastures milking and cheese production are performed in a traditional way.rnCheese and curd are produced; sometimes sour milk, all for sale in the mountainrnpastures to tourist and visitors.

rnrnContent: Oklahoma State University (www.ansi.okstate.edu).

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