The Blackhead Persian is a sheep (Ovis aries Linnaeus, 1758) of Somali origin, with a main aptitude for meat production.
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Species O. aries,
Breed Blackhead Persian.
Geographic and Area Distribution –
The Blackhead Persian is a breed of sheep native to Africa and in particular to Somalia and descends directly from the Somali sheep. Today it is present in South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Ghana; outside Africa it is present in Brazil (where it is called Somalis Brasileira, Brazilian Somali or Somali Blackhead), in the Caribbean area and in Central and South America.
Origins and History –
The Blackhead Persian breed originates from Somalia and was imported to South Africa around 1870. In 1906, a South African herd book was established. In 1930, there were 4,000 animals registered. In the 1950s it is estimated that there were two million animals in South Africa alone, and they had also been introduced in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Ghana. It has since been imported to the Caribbean region, Central and South America for crossbreeding purposes.
This sheep was crossed in South Africa with local breeds and was also “improved” by crossing it with breeds such as the Dorset Horn, creating the successful breed now called Dorper. The Ghanaian black-headed nangue is a cross between the Djallonké and Blackhead Persian breeds.
The Blackhead Persian breed is a small breed, devoid of wool and covered in fur. It has a white body and, as the name suggests, a completely black head.
It is hornless in both sexes. Short legs and compact shape.
The head, black in color, has long pendulous ears, black neck and white body, with a clear line that delimits the two colors. The croup and base of the tail have a build up of fat.
On average at maturity, rams weigh 68 kg and sheep 52 kg. At birth, rams and sheep weigh around 2.6 kg.
Productive attitude –
The Blackhead Persian is a breed bred for meat production and for the large amount of fat stored in the tail region which gives it resilience in dryland farming conditions.
The quality of their meat is particularly appreciated in cooking.
The sheep have a lactation of about 84 days; they produce 50 kg of milk with 5.9% fat.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Daniele Bigi, Alessio Zanon, 2010. Atlas of native breeds. Cattle, horses, sheep and goats, pigs reared in Italy, Edagricole-New Business Media, Bologna.