Edilbay sheep

Edilbay sheep (Kazakh: Еділбай қойы, Edilbaı qoıy), also known as Edilbaev(skaya) sheep (Russian: Эдильбаевская овца),[1] 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.[2][3] It originated in the 19th century as a cross between Kazakh fat-tailed sheep and Kalmyk/Astrakhan coarse-wooled sheep.[4][3] Today, it is found in Kazakhstan (2,419,000 head as of 1980)[4] and Russia (20,100 head as of 2003).[4]

Other names
  • Edilbaev
  • Edilbaevskaya
  • Edil’baevskaya
Country of originKazakhstan
DistributionKazakhstan, Russia
UseMeat, tail fat, (milk)
  • Male:
    115 kg (250 lb)
  • Female:
    67 kg (150 lb)
  • 75–84 cm (30–33 in)
Wool colorUnicoloured black, tan or brown
Horn statusBoth 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.[3] They are adapted to severe winter frosts and summer droughts,[note 1] can travel over long distances and thrive on poor feed conditions.[2]

Their yearly lambing rate is 110–120 lambs born for every 100 ewes.[2][3]

They are mainly bred for their meat and tail fat.[4][5] 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).[2]

The milk, though of lesser importance, is also used commercially. Main products are airan (sour milk), primchik[note 2] and qurt (cheeses), and butter.[2][5] Ewes have a yearly milk yield of 152 l on average.[4][2] Fat content ranges from 3–9%, with an average of 5.8%.[2]

Their wool production surpasses all other breeds of the Kazakh fat-tailed type, both as regards yield and quality.[4][2] 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.[3][2] 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.).[2] Kemp is rarely found.[2]


  1. ^ Compare for instance the climate in Aktobe (north-eastern Kazakhstan) or Pavlodar (north-western Kazakhstan).
  2. ^ “Primchik” may simply be a mistransliteration of Kazakh ірімшік (irimshik), which simply means “cheese” or “cottage cheese”.


  1. ^ See web search queries Edilbay sheep, Edilbaev sheep, Edilbaevskaya sheep, Edil’baevskaya sheep
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k “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.
  3. ^ a b c d e “Edilbaev Sheep,” TheFreeDictionary.com, Farlex Inc., without date. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations / Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS): “Edil'Baevskaya/Kazakhstan.” Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  5. ^ a b Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations / Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS): “Edelbayevskaya/Russian Federation.” Retrieved 15 October 2017.

Further readingEdit