Gains from Sheep

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Gains from Sheep

Post by khandairies on Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:57 pm

Gains from sheep
by Nasir Mahmood & Nisar Ahmed Jamil

Like human civilisations, the story of wool begins in Asia Minor during the Stone Age about 10,000 years ago. Primitive man living in the Mesopotamian lain used sheep for three basic needs: food, clothing and shelter. Later on man learned to spin and weave. Sheep thrive in all 50 states and most nations of the world, often in rough, barren ranges, or high altitudes where other animals cannot survive because of lack of vegetation. Sheep can survive and flourish on weeds and vegetation other animals will not eat; therefore they convert to protein, a group of natural resources, which would otherwise be wasted. Sheep fill our food and fibre needs today just as they have for centuries. Wool is the Natural clothing of sheep and is one of the two important products obtained from sheep-wool and meat. Sheep raisers obtain about 15to 20% of their total cash income from wool and rest from sheep and lamps. The natural function of wool is to protect and converse the warmth of animal’s body. A covering of hair or feathers performs a thermoregulatory function for warm-blooded animals, to protect them from heat or cold. There are a number of characteristics of wool fibres, which determine both their suitability for manufacturing woven and non-woven products and their behaviour during scouring, weaving and other processes. For best quality of knitted or woven fabrics, research indicates that average fibre diameter, vegetable fault, length, strength and colour are important factors, which determine the quality of wool fibre. For coarser wools especially those used in carpets or modern design, fibre diameter, medullation, length, bulk and colour are important. About 65% of the wool consumed in Pakistan is carpet wool and other 33% is used in apparel manufacturing .The greater part of the wool is used in the manufacture of hand knotted carpets, floor coverings, and winter uniforms for army, police, railway employees, blankets and socks. A small quantity is consumed in the spinning of woollen yarn, which in turn is used in suiting fabrics. For marketing four colours of wool are recognised white-pure white, white, light ivory or dark ivory shades; yellow pale yellow or deep yellow shades, grey light or dark grey resulting from a variety of coloured fibres such as fawn, red and black. The colour is caused by the presence of diffused or granular pigments in the cortex and medulla of the fibre. White wools are generally obtained from fine wool and well-bred sheep, and the coloured ones from coarse-wool and unimproved sheep. Though wools of different colour do not show noticeable difference in the structure and properties of their fibres, white wool is considered to be best in colour. Fineness is one of the other important characteristics of wool as the finer the quality of wool, the better the production of superior-grade products. In case of carpet however such characteristics as staple length, medullation and resilience are relatively more important. In judging sheep, fibre length is based on an appraisal of the annual growth, as determined by putting the fleece at three areas the shoulder, side and britch. In Pakistan there is a large potential in this field by improving the wool fibre quality, as wool fibre mainly depends on fibre length, iber diameter (fineness), grease and density of wool fibres on the animals this can be done only by opening more and more sheep and goat farms and by improving the breeding method.Sheep are as versatile as the fibre they produce. All parts are used; they provide tender, delicious meat, which is important constituent of human diet as it is nutritious; it is a rich source of proteins containing essential amino acids in suitable proportions and in a digestible form. A number of minerals and vitamins are present which make it an important food. Although the per capita availability of meat in Pakistan has improved from 8.8 kg in 1971 to about 20 kg, yet it is well below the minimum standard of WHO, which is 28 kg of meat per head per annum (30g per head per day). The average per capita consumption of meat of developed countries is 100 to 110 kg. At the present situation animal protein deficiency in low-income groups of populations is already acute. Mortality rate in children tends to rise when their protein intake is low. Severe protein deficiency and inadequate intake of animal’s protein in infants appear to adversely affect the brain cells and central nervous system and can cause permanent mental retardation. Meat also has profound effect on structure height and general health of individuals. The production of high quality meat starts with the live animal on the farm. However, it can be greatly affected by the transport of animals to the point of slaughter. During this time the animal is deprived of feed and water, and losses his weight and stress can cause high ultimate pH in muscles. The other important feature of sheep’s is skins i.e. important source of raw material for local and export leather industry. Estimated production of skins is 40 million rupees. Their value has been estimated at Rs.6450 million. Considerable care is required to be taken when skin is removed from the carcasses after slaughter. The preparation and drying of skin is an art by itself and calls for a certain amount of skill. Nearly 80 to 90 of the skins are produced from slaughter animals and others from fallen animals. While reports indicate that about 15% of the skins are damaged because of flying cuts and another 6 to 8 % are spoiled due to defective curing, especially at Eid festival of sacrificed animals.
The writers are lecturers at the Department Fibre Technology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, and can be reached at (nasirmahmood23uaf@yahoo.com)
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