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Published on 5th December 2022 by staff

Balkhi Sheep

Balkhi Sheep
Balkhi Sheep

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
Coat TypeCoarse
HornsYes (both sexes);
Twisted usually backwards
UsesMeat Production;
also for wool (secondary)
Wool ColorBlack, tan, gray or their admixture (both sexes)
Fiber Diameter43.5μ
Wool Production2 kg per year
Weight (size)Ram: 70 kg;
Ewe: 70 kg
HeightRam: 87 cm;
Ewe: 74 cm
DietCrops, tree leaves, fodders and grains
Country of OriginPakistan

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.

Balkhi Sheep Images
Balkhi Sheeps

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).

Wool Production

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.

Balkhi Sheep Pictures
Balkhi Sheep Pictures

Interesting Facts

  • According to a 2008 census, only 5.8% of the total Balkhi populations in Pakistan are purebred.

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