Phenotypic characterization of Saudi Sheep in Qassim Region

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Saudi Digital Library
Genetic resources of Saudi's livestock animal have a particular in managing the rural environment and assisting in maintaining wild biological diversity. The indigenous sheep breeds are of great economic, social and cultural importance. The presence of native sheep is a very positive feature for many who live in, work in or visit the countryside sheep smallholders is frequently a core activity on which whole communities depend on and play a predominant role in the rural, arid and semi-arid area. The total number of small ruminants in Saudi Arabia were 13115564; about 71.74% of them were sheep breeds, which represent the 9408766 heads and the rest 28.26% equal 3706798 heads of goat (MEWA, 2019). The conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources for food and agriculture is a widely supported international objective contributing to effort to eliminate global poverty and achieve world food security. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a rich and diverse population of sheep, goats, poultry, horses and Camels breeds. Sheep native breeds in Saudi Arabia have different phenotypic and genetic traits. In this study, we aimed to figure out and identify some general morphological measurements of three native breeds from different populations. Metric measurements give us an idea how these breeds were variated with little or wide variance and standard deviation in that traits under study. In the same time, the metric measurements is important to standardize breed and give us an idea about the trend of variation in each trait in focus within each breed and how this breed became close to be stability and restricted in these morphological characterization . On the other hand, this information about body measurements determine how far KSA native breeds from standard breeds. The data of the present study were collected form Naemi, Najdi and Hari breeds raised in, Qassim region. In the present study, eight body measurements were studied, Wither height (WH), Rump height (RH), Body length (BL), Head length (HL), Heart girth (HG), Muzzle circumference (MC), Cannon circumference (CC) and Cannon length (CL). Naemi is the second size breed of the sheep breeds in Saudi Arabia. Hari is the smallest breed of sheep breeds in Saudi Arabia and it is the main breed in Hejaz and Asir regions, which belong to the sheep with coarse hair and thick tail strain. The results of the present study on these breeds showed that Najdi breed has the biggest sizes in all body measurements 10.9% and 11.4% bigger than Naemi and Hari, respectively. By the other way in comparing Naemi’s breed with Hari breed, Naemi has the bigger sizes by (10.5%) in all body measurements than Hari. Three categories of ages were presented in this study were young < 1 year , adult > 1 year and old > 4years. The first category young < 1 year showed the smallest size in all body measurements by 11.2% less when compare with adult > 1 year. Little bit differences were found between adult > 1 year and old > 4years by 2% increase of old > 4years. In addition, the effect of sex was significant, male always have biggest body measurements in compare with female. The results showed that male have around 10.9% more in all studied measurements than female. All the fixed effects (Age, Breed and Sex) have significant effects on all body measurements traits except Cannon Circumference (CC) trait. The correlations coefficients among all studied traits were moderate to high with highly significant (p< 0.01). The highest correlation coefficient was found between RH and WH traits (0.872), and the lowest one was found between CC and HG traits (0.214). The correlations coefficients between relative traits could help us to understand the positive assortative among traits under study, and can be used in the future of selection program. The estimated body measurements may be used to set up standard breeds for that native one and help us to identify and demonstrate these breeds for the mass selection purpose of Najdi, Naemi and Hari sheep breed.