The study was conducted in Hawzen and Hintalowagerat districts of Tigray region Northern Ethiopia with the objective of enhancing meat production performance of the local sheep through cross breeding with high yielding exotic Dorper sheep under smallholder farmers. Pure male Dorper mated with local sheep produced first and second generation with 50 and 25% blood level of Dorper, respectively. Farmer’s research groups were established in both locations. The average live body weight of the 50% crossbred male and female sheep was 45 and 38 kg, respectively at adult age. The average live body weight of the adult male and female local sheep (highland) was 25 and 20 kg, respectively. On farm crossbreeding of Dorper (male) sheep with local sheep (female) improved body weight by 55% (male) and 53% (female) at yearly age. Smallholder farmers perceived that Dorper crossbred sheep are appropriate for meat production improvement. It is concluded that regardless of the black body color and the appearance short thin tail of the crossbred, Doper sheep breed is the appropriate technology for enhancing meat production performance of the local sheep.
Key words: Crossbreeding, Dorper sheep, meat production, local sheep.
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