This study was conducted with the aim to generate organized information on traditional breeding practices and selection criteria for indigenous sheep types in three districts of central zone of Tigray, North Ethiopia. A total of 180 households were randomly sampled for the interview. A semi-structured questionnaire and group discussion were further used to gather information on sheep breeding practices and selection criteria. The primary reason for keeping sheep in Tanqua-Abergelle and Kola-Tembien districts were manure as sources of fertilizer, while in Adwa district cash income. In all the study districts the flock structure were dominated by breeding ewes and they accounted 38.5, 35.9 and 38.7% in Tanqua-Abergelle, Kola-Tembien and Adwa districts, respectively. Sexual maturity of female for Tanqua-Abergelle, Kola-Tembien and Adwa districts were 9.16±0.82, 8.75±1.34, and 8.86±1.04 months, respectively and for male 7.43±0.76, 6.67±0.91, and 6.64±0.95 months, respectively. Tail type and body size in Tanqua-Abergelle and Kola-Tembien were the most frequently reported traits in selecting breeding ram and ewes, while tail type and coat colour in Adwa district. Based on the present result on sheep indigenous breeding practices one may develop selection criteria and productivity schemes of the local sheep in the study districts.
Key words: Adwa, breeding practice, indigenous selection criteria, Kola-Tembien, phenotypes, Tanqua-Abergelle.
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