|dc.description.abstract||The Hungarian native Tsigai breed is an old, independent long-tailed sheep breed
originating in Asia Minor. The breed appeared in Hungary at the end of 18th century. After the
end of 19th century, significant breeding programs diminished, and the breed lost its growing
The breed origin of the Scottish blackface has been lost in time, but most likely have
originated from the horned hill breed sheep. Over the years the farmers recognised the breeds
ability to survive the rough environment.
The main objective of this study is to evaluate and analyse the weaning weight and its
changes over time of these two traditional sheep breeds.
We received the Tsigai data from the Hungarian Association of Sheep and Goat
Breeders (2000-2013, n=2809) and Scottish blackface data from farms in the West of Ireland
(2010-2013, n=747). We took into consideration the animals keeping niche, geographical and
environmental locations as well.
At first we adjusted the weaning weight to 60 days (WW60), so we could compare the
lambs from the different weaning systems. We calculated the average daily gain during the
suckling period. We used general linear modell (GLM, weaning age as a covariant) to compare
the results according to the birth type, the gender, and the keeping place, including the breed
The WW60 was 21.6 kg in male lambs (n=545), and 20.0 kg in female lambs (n=2856).
This trait was 21.7 kg by the single lambs (n=1670), and 19.8 kg in the multiple births(n=1731).
These results were statistically significant (p<0.001). During the evaluation of the weaning
weight according to the keeping environment we also found differences. The two Hungarian
lowland niche showed similarity (p=0.886): the animals kept in poorer meadow were 21.9 kg,
while on the richer meadow they were 22.1 kg. In Ireland the average weaning weight was 19.8
kg, while the lambs in the Hungarian mountainous keeping place were 19.2 kg, both
significantly differing from the previous results (p<0.001). From the daily gain results we found
quite similar tendencies.
Regarding the alteration of the live weight over a period of time it became obvious that
the Tsigai sheep kept in lowland condition showed a significant increase in the WW60. A true
maintenance was observed in the Scottish blackface in the past 3 years showing the breeders
intention to maintain the breed in its traditional performance. Our study revealed a slight
decrease in the weaning weight of the Tsigai lambs in the mountain niche which indicates the
decision of the breeders to conserve the original traits of this breed.
The study has looked at the ability of the Tsigai and the Scottish blackface breed to
generate liveweight from pastures that may well have been left ungrazed and un-utilized due to
poor quality. Our intention is to show that these breeds deserve consideration based on their
performances on pasture.||en