The Pomaracina (Ovis aries Linnaeus, 1758) is an Italian sheep breed bred for meat production.
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Species O. aries,
Geographical and Areal Distribution –
The Pomarancina sheep breed is a sheep bred in the province of Pisa and specifically in the municipalities of Pomarance, Montecatini Val di Cecina, as well as in the neighboring hilly areas of the Volterra area up to the border with the province of Siena.
Origins and History –
The Pomarancina sheep breed is a sheep that largely derives from the Apennine breed of which it still retains common morphological traits.
This breed was once very widespread (so much so that today animals can still be found in the Volterra area and other nearby municipalities and in the Siena area) and had been selected over the centuries starting from the Apennine breed (which gave rise to almost all the breeds present today on the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines).
With the progress of the specialization of agriculture and animal husbandry, this breed then experienced a gradual decline and only about twenty years ago, the Pomarancina sheep seemed destined for extinction: in the historical area of origin, the municipality of Pomarance from which takes its name, and a few hundred animals were still raised in the Cecina Valley.
Today, thanks to some protection projects and programs, attempts are being made to preserve this breed and for some years Slow Food has also created the Pomarancino Lamb Food Community.
The current size is estimated at around 1200 heads.
The Pomarancina sheep is a medium-sized breed, with white fleece, open with long curls, pink skin and pigmentation like the mucous membranes.
It has a height at the withers of 70-80 cm for males and 60-65 cm for females, with a weight of 60-75 kg for males and 55-65 kg for females.
The head is fine and light, without horns and with a straight or slightly mutton-shaped profile which is more accentuated in males.
It has small, narrow ears that are carried horizontally or slightly drooping.
The neck is well attached and of medium length and the trunk is quite long and straight with a broad chest.
The limbs are solid and relatively long.
Productive attitude –
The Pomarancina breed has a fertility (percentage ratio between the number of ewes born and the number of ewes sent for breeding) of around 90% and a prolificacy (percentage ratio between lambs born and the number of ewes born) of 129%.
The average lifespan of specimens at first birth is 14 months.
For meat production, take into account that the average weight of the subjects in kg at 45 days ranges from 14 to 15 kg for males and from 13 to 13.5 kg for females.
For milk the indicative production is 60-80 liters (6-7% fat), mostly fed by the lamb.
For wool there is an average production of 2.5 kg of dirt for rams and 1.5 kg for sheep; it is a coarse quality, from mattress and padding.
This is a very rustic sheep population, raised in a permanent semi-wild form. It adapts very well to breeding in marginal areas.
This sheep is appreciated for the quality of its meat and its rusticity, which made it suitable for the often impervious hilly pastures of these areas. The breed also offered a good production of milk and wool (in fact, it seems that historically for the selection merino sheep of this breed were also used to improve this production).
The lambs are slaughtered at around sixty to ninety days of age, when they have reached a weight of around fifteen kilograms. Their meat, characterized by a dark pink color that contrasts with the white of the fatty part and by a good consistency, is excellent cooked in the oven or in sauce (the classic buglione) and, for these reasons, is highly appreciated by the local gastronomy.
Traditionally the animals are raised in groups of around fifty animals, to make the most of the surrounding pasture. Rustic and robust, they live all year round in the wild or semi-wild state. In periods when forage is lacking, the pasture can only be supplemented with hay and cereals grown on the farm.
Meat is available in winter and spring.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Balasini Dialma, 2001. Applied zootechnics. Sheep and goats. Sheep and goats. For technical and professional institutes, Caledrini Edagricole, Bologna.
– Daniele Bigi, Alessio Zanon, 2010. Atlas of native breeds. Cattle, horses, sheep, goats, pigs raised in Italy, Edagricole-New Business Media, Bologna.