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Karakul...

Karakul or Qaraqul (named after Qorako‘l, a city in Bukhara Province in Uzbekistan) is a breed of domestic sheep which originated in Central Asia. Some archaeological evidence points to Karakul sheep being raised there continuously since 1400 BC.  Hailing from the desert regions of Central Asia, Karakul sheep are renowned for their ability to forage and thrive under extremely harsh living conditions. They can survive severe drought conditions because of a special quality they have, storing fat in their tails. Karakul are also raised in large numbers in Namibia, having first been brought there by German colonists in the early 20th century.

Karakul sheep are a multi-purpose breed, kept for milking, meat, pelts, and wool. As a fat-tailed breed, they have a distinctive meat. Many adult Karakul are double-coated; in this case, people separate the coarse guard hair from the undercoat. Karakul is relatively coarse fiber used for outer garment, carpets and for felting.Very young or even fetal Karakul lambs are prized for pelts. Newborn karakul sheep pelts are called karakul (also spelled caracul), swakara (coined from South West Africa Karakul), astrakhan (Russian), Persian lamb, agnello di Persia, (Italian), krimmer (Russian) and garaköli bagana (Turkmen). Sometimes the terms for newborn lambs' and fetal lambs' pelts are used interchangeably.

The newborn lambs have a tight, curly pattern of hair. The lambs must be under three days old when they are killed, or they will lose their black color and soft, tightly wound coils of fur.  Dark colors are dominant and lambs often darken in color as they age. Fetal karakul lamb pelts are called broadtail, Breitschwanz (German), and karakulcha. People use the lamb pelts to create various clothing items, such as the Astrakhan or karakul hat. The pelts have been used in haute couture.


Meatmaster...

The Meatmaster is a breed of domestic sheep native to South Africa. Bred in the early 1990s from various hair sheep breeds, the Meatmaster was created with the goal of improving the meat characteristics of African fat-tailed sheep breeds.[1] Today Meatmaster bloodlines may be a composite of any number of breeds, such as Van Rooy or South African Meat Merino, but must contain Damara breeding.  Meatmasters are hair sheep (meaning they lack wool which requires shearing), come in a diverse array of colors, and may be both horned and polled. The focus in breeding is mostly on meat production, but they are also very hardy and with good mothering instincts (inherited from their Damara breeding). Rams weigh from 85 to 105 kilograms and ewes 60–70 kg.[3] Meatmasters have been exported to Namibia, Australia, and Canada.

Meatmasters thrive on up to 63% browse, unlike most European grass fed sheep, which puts them nearly in the goat feeding category, just like pure Damara Hair Sheep. Meatmaster sheep also have the ability to graze on Alfalfa Lucerne without bloat problems. Meatmasters on Lucerne are known to exceed a 200% lambing percentage, dropping twins roughly every 7–8 months. The Meatmaster breed is unique in that it lends itself to an extensive farming model combined with elements of an intensive model, such as direct unsupervised uncontrolled grazing of Lucerne stands. Mature Meatmaster Rams and Ewes typically protect young lambs with vigour, even going as far as attacking a predator such as a jackal or a dog. Younger animals are most often shielded in the center of the flock, with aggressive older animals on the outer perimeter. Predators approaching the flock draw the ire of mature animals, which divert attention away from vulnerable lambs. Predators shy away from direct confrontation with an aggressive Ram weighing 85–105 kg, which can deliver stinging blows butting with its head. Even an aggressive ewe weighing a mere 60 kg can inflict serious bruising, and prefer hitting a human interfering with a lamb in the vulnerable loin area, causing the lamb to be released immediately. Ewes scan for their lambs every few seconds and become very agitated if separated from their lamb even for a moment or two.

The Meatmaster sheep has become popular among both large commercial farmers faced with predation problems from Jackal, Caracal and Leopard (where the strong flocking instinct provide added protection), as well as small scale weekend "hobby farmers" making use of the "easy care" aspect of Hair Sheep which provide very low barriers to entry for first timers. Communal farmers and livestock owners in open range realities make use of the Meatmaster because of easy control of a flock by just one person as well as the higher disease resistance over most conventional sheep breeds. Meatmaster sheep is regarded as an economic option where parasite resistance to traditional chemical parasite treatments have become a problem.

Meatmaster information source: Wikipedia



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