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by ruchita last modified Jul 03, 2014 03:42 PM

May 06, 2013

deccani-femaleThe Deccani breed is spread over the greater part of the central peninsular region, comprising the semi-arid areas of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

They are medium-sized animals, predominantly black or black with white markings; white and brown/fawn animals are also seen.  The Deccani breed is well-suited to the extreme temperatures of the Deccan peninsula and is capable of long-distance migration. It has been traditionally reared by pastoral communities of the area such as the Kurmas and Gollas in Andhra Pradesh, the Dhangars in Maharashtra and the Kurubas in Karnataka. These communities have a strong synergistic relationship with farmers along the traditional migratory routes and the penning of sheep flocks in farmer fields contributes to maintaining and improving soil fertility.  

Deccani rams are horned but ewes are polled. The ears are medium long, flat and drooping, the tail is short and thin, and the fleece is extremely coarse, hairy and open. The belly and legs are devoid of wool. In farmers' flocks, lambing percentage on the basis of ewes available is 75.2%; under farm conditions, this goes up to 85.5%. Litter size is single. 

While breeding earlier was mostly pure, the dwindling market for coarse wool, has led to a shift to crossbreeding with heavier meat breeds such as the Nellore and the Madgyal. In limited areas around Pune in Maharashtra and some areas in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka cross-breeding with the Merino and Corriedale has been undertaken for improving wool quality and meat production. The average annual fleece weight is 740 gm with an average fibre diameter and density of 52μ and 745 cm2 respectively, and a medullation percentage of 74. According to the 18th Livestock Census of 2007 there are 4,329,597 Deccani sheep in the country. (Refer to the maps below) 

Adult Male   Adult Female
Average Body weight (kg) 37 to 39  29 
Average Body length  (cm) 67  65 
Average Height at withers (cm)     67 to 68  64 
Average Chest girth (cm) 77 to 79   71




Text Sources: and Livestock Management for Poverty Alleviation and Food Security, Katrien van t́ Hooft (Page 147).

Photo Source: CSWRI, Avikanagar