The Balkhi Sheep is a variety of large-sized, fat-tailed sheep that has been domesticated in Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan. Primarily reared for the production of mutton, this breed is also known to grow wool. This breed is easily available, and is not under any threat of extinction.
|Physical Characteristics||Has a large body, with a muscular and compact stature; the fleece often extends from the body to its head as well as the leg areas; the ears are moderately long; the tail is fat and tucked up|
|Horns||Yes (both sexes);
Twisted usually backwards
also for wool (secondary)
|Wool Color||Black, tan, gray or their admixture (both sexes)|
|Wool Production||2 kg per year|
|Weight (size)||Ram: 70 kg;
Ewe: 70 kg
|Height||Ram: 87 cm;
Ewe: 74 cm
|Diet||Crops, tree leaves, fodders and grains|
|Country of Origin||Pakistan|
History and Development
Since many decades, the nomads in Afghanistan and Pakistan keep Balkhi. Sheep flocks in these areas have been reared under three individual production systems, i.e. sedentary, transhumant and nomadic. The nomadic people of these areas are responsible solely for the development of the sheep as a mutton breed.
This breed is widely distributed the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan, around the tribal areas, as well as in the adjoining areas of Afghanistan.
Kidding and Meat Production
During birth, the male kids weigh around 5.2 kg (11 lb), while the female kids are around 3.8 kg (8.4 lb). During lactation period of about 105 days, the ewes yield around 60 kg (130 lb) of milk on an average for the baby sheep. Both the adult ram and the ewe would produce almost 70 kilos of meat (live market weight).
The fiber density of the Balkhis is low. They produce approximately 2 kg (4.4 lb) of wool, with an average 43.5-micrometer diameter. The wool type is coarse.
- According to a 2008 census, only 5.8% of the total Balkhi populations in Pakistan are purebred.