Edilbay sheep (Kazakh: Еділбай қойы, Edilbaı qoıy), also known as Edilbaev(skaya) sheep (Russian: Эдильбаевская овца), are a breed of domesticated sheep which originated in northern Kazakhstan. This breed belongs to the coarse-wooled fat-tailed type of sheep and the Kazakh group. It originated in the 19th century as a cross between Kazakh fat-tailed sheep and Kalmyk/Astrakhan coarse-wooled sheep. Today, it is found in Kazakhstan (2,419,000 head as of 1980) and Russia (20,100 head as of 2003).
|Country of origin||Kazakhstan|
|Use||Meat, tail fat, (milk)|
|Wool color||Unicoloured black, tan or brown|
|Horn status||Both sexes are hornless|
Edilbaevskaya sheep are very hardy, as they were breed to conform to nomadic life in the semi-deserts and deserts of Kazakhstan. They are adapted to severe winter frosts and summer droughts,[note 1] can travel over long distances and thrive on poor feed conditions.
They are mainly bred for their meat and tail fat. At four months old, carcass weight is around 22 kg (49 lb) and tail fat weight is around 3–4 kg (6.6–8.8 lb). Well-grown wethers can reach a rump weight of 40–45 kg (88–99 lb) and a tail fat weight of 12–14 kg (26–31 lb).
The milk, though of lesser importance, is also used commercially. Main products are airan (sour milk), primchik[note 2] and qurt (cheeses), and butter. Ewes have a yearly milk yield of 152 l on average. Fat content ranges from 3–9%, with an average of 5.8%.
Their wool production surpasses all other breeds of the Kazakh fat-tailed type, both as regards yield and quality. The average fleece yield from two clippings is 3.3 kg (7.3 lb) for rams and 2.5 kg (5.5 lb) for ewes, fleece thickness is approximately 15 cm. The fleece consists of true wool with a fineness of 18.0 μm (54% on average), intermediate fibres (33.1 μm, 17.5% avg.), and guard hair (59.5 μm, 26%avg.). Kemp is rarely found.
- See web search queries Edilbay sheep, Edilbaev sheep, Edilbaevskaya sheep, Edil’baevskaya sheep
- “EDILBAEV (Edilbaevskaya)”, pp. 237–238 of N.G. Dmitriev, L.K. Ernst (eds.): Animal genetic resources of the USS. FAO Animal Production And Health Paper 65. Rome: Food And Agriculture Organization Of The United Nations, 1989. ISBN 92-5-102582-7 (pdf). Retrieved 13 October 2017.
- “Edilbaev Sheep,” TheFreeDictionary.com, Farlex Inc., without date. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations / Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS): “Edil'Baevskaya/Kazakhstan.” Retrieved 15 October 2017.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations / Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS): “Edelbayevskaya/Russian Federation.” Retrieved 15 October 2017.