Himachal Pradesh possesses a vast range of flora and fauna, large variety of plants, livestock and avian speciesare found in the state. Livestock rearing is a subsidiary occupation of most of the small and marginal farmers of Himachal Pradesh having small land holdings, whereas, the farmers of the high mountain ranges take up full time occupation of rearing sheep and goats for their livelihood sustainability. Keeping in view the need of the hill farmers the Department of Animal Breeding, Genetics and Bio statistics has been actively involved in the research activities in the field of animal breeding and regularly getting research projects on various aspects involving different species of livestock. The research mainly concentrated on characterization and conservation of livestock species of the state as well as the improving productivity of these animals through breeding interventions. The outcome of the research conducted in the department is utilized to frame future breeding policies for improving the productivity of the livestock species of the state to meet out nutritional requirements and enhancement of livelihood status of the farmers of this hill state. Yak, Local hill cattle, Sheep and goat, Spiti horse and the rabbits (Angora as well as broiler) have a great potential for the improvement in the production and reproduction traits trough using advance breeding techniques. The department has already taken up the work of characterizing and conserving the important animal genetic resources of the state viz. Yak, Gaddi and Ranpur Bushair Sheep,Gaddi & Chegu goat and Spiti horses. The work also focused to find out the ways and means to improve the genetic potential of the livestock species of the state. The results of various research projects revealed that there is a vast potential to bring about improvement in the economic parameters of these livestock species. If the improved animals are managed properly by providing better feeding and management interventions then these animal are not less than any of the other animals maintained elsewhere. The results also revealed that there is a need of following a systematic approach for exploiting and conserving the important genetic resources of the state. The following are the concluding summary of some of the important research projects taken up by this department so for. **************** Studies on Genetic Aspects of Production and Reproduction Traits of Yak in Himachal Pradesh. (1988 to 1993) P.I. Dr. N.K. Manuja Co- P.I Dr. O. P. Kaila Budget: 17.00 lakhs Yak is a multipurpose animal of the high mountain regions and found in Kinnaur and Spiti area of the state. Yak belongs to bovin species and believed to be a cattle due to the number of chromosomes equal to that of the cattle. It provides milk, meat, fiber and manure. Chauri made out of tail hair of yak are used in the religious places like in temples and Gurudwaras. The milk of yak is very rich in fat and total solids. Yak is also used as a pack animal in the high mountains area where horses and ponies do not work. It has a peculiarity of climbing steep slops very fast and efficiently because of its surefootedness. The yak has double coat of course and fine fibers which protect it from the cold climatic conditions of the high mountains. In addition to the double coat of hair and pashmina fiber it has sub-cutaneous fat layer which provide heat during sub-zero temperature conditions. It can sustain temperature up - 500 C. Yak is a very hardy animal and can remain with out feed for days together. These animals are very docile but becomes ferocious on continues teasing. They are very social and remain in groups. During nights they rest forming circles keeping the young calves in the center to protect them from wild animals. The population of yak in Himachal is declining day by day because of the introduction of horticultural crops coming up in those areas. Government intervention is urgently needed to protect and conserve this important animal genetic resource of the state by establishing a state farm in the breeding tract of this animal. An ICAR funded research project was undertaken at Yak Breeding Research Station, RRS, Sangla. Approximately 50 breedable females were maintained at the station and the data on production, reproduction and behavioural parameters were generated over a period of five years from 1988 to 1993. The yak stock were maintained purely on grazing in the alpine pastures during summers, whereas, during winters they are provided with dry hay made up of cultivated fodders and seasonal grasses and concentrate feed along with few hours of grazing. The genetic studies could not be taken up for want of desired population size of 100 breedable females and 10 male yaks. Whatever parameters could be recorded and analyzed revealed as under. The Himachali yak is a docile animal but become ferocious on continuous teasing and may attack and even kill the persons. It is very hardy and can remain with out feed for days together. It can sustain very harsh climatic conditions of the high mountains. It has a very specific quality of surefootedness and can climb to very steep slops. It is very fast in movements. The female are regular breeders with very less incidence of abortions and stillbirths. They have very good mothering ability. Male yak do not graze with female stock and they only accompany female during breeding season. Data on growth, production and reproduction parameters were generated and analyzed. The analysis of the data revealed that the Himachali yak has smaller body weighing on an average at 212.74 kg. on a grown up stage. The Height at withers was recorded as 106.63 cm. and body length as 93 cm. head length, horn length and horn circumference were 38.32, 32.93 and 19.02 cm, which is the lowest as compared to the yak of other locations. The Himachali yak has wider head (20.21 cm. between horns and 20.54 between eyes) than the yak maintained at other locations. The yak calf weighs less at birth (9.0 to 10.50 kg.). Initial growth of the calf is governed by the milk yield of the mother and time given to suckling as the calf mainly depends on suckling during its initial growth period. The effect of year and season of calving and sex of the calf was significant on six-month body weight. Year and season of birth and the sex of the calf also affected the average daily gain in weight during first six month. Winters have adverse effect not only on the growth of the calf but also on the body weight of the dam. Higher body weight gain was observed in early years than the latter years. The average gestation period and inter-calving period of these yaks were 258 and 407 days respectively. In yak the average gestation period is 15 – 20 days less than the cattle. Average lactation milk yield of Himachali yak was 125.57 kg ranging between 109.48 kg. for the sixth parity to 138.62 kg. for the third parity. The lactation milk yield and average peak yield were significantly influenced by year of calving. The average lactation length was observed as 172 days and it was higher for cows those have given birth to male calves. The yak milk contains high milk fat (7.15 to 7.72 %). Season’s effect on fat percent may be due to more fair weather and better availability of feed and fodders. Conclusion and Recommendation 1. The yak is a very docile multipurpose animal reared for milk, meat, fiber, transportation, hide and manure. It becomes very ferocious on continuous teasing. 2. It is a very hardy animal and can remain without feed and fodder for days together. It can sustain very harsh climatic conditions of the high mountains. 3. It has a quality of surefootedness and can climb very steep slops with a very high speed. 4. Himachali yak is smaller than the yak reared at other locations. Its calf weighs less at birth (9.00 – 10.5 kg.) 5. Female yak (Brame) is regular breeders with very less incidence of abortions and stillbirths. 6. The gestation period in Himachali yak is generally 15 – 20 days shorter then the cattle. 7. Himachali yak also have small head length, horn length and horn circumference, but it had wider head (between horn to horn & between eyes to eyes). 8. The female yak in Himachal is a poor milk producer (average lactation yield as 125.57 kg.) with high milk fat (7.15 to 7.72 %). ****************** Studies on Some Aspects of Broiler Rabbits Production on Sub- Mountainous Regions of Palampur (1988 to 1990) PI Dr. N.K.Manuja Co-PI Dr. K. Gupta and Dr. C. L. Marwaha Budget: Rs. 17.13 lacs. Keeping in view the agro – climatic conditions of Himachal Pradesh suitable for rabbit rearing ICAR has sanctioned an ad hoc. research project to study the production parameters of the broiler rabbits. The studies have also worked out the possibility of maintaining broiler rabbits in sub- mountainous region and to recommend the package of practices. Kindling and growth records of about 800 rabbits of different genetic groups have been recorded. The effects of different weather conditions of these traits have been studied. This rabbit unit consisting of various breeds of broiler rabbits from various locations has been established with following objectives. i) To study the growth performance of various breeds/ crosses of broiler rabbits at different intervals. ii) To evolve profitable meat rabbit strain employing 4 x 4 diallel crossing. The growth performance of rabbits belonging to four different breeds viz. New-Zealand white, soviet chinchilla, white giant and Grey Giant and their crosses in all possible combinations have been studied from birth to 6 weeks and weaning to 24 weeks of age, respectively at two weeks interval. Stud matting system was followed and the pregnant females were shifted to kindling cages after 25th day of pregnancy. Weaning was done at six weeks of age and the young were kept in separate cages afterwards. The growth records were taken at two weeks interval up to 24 weeks of age. The rabbits were fed concentrate and fodder according to their age and according to nutritive requirements. The concentrate feed was offered in pellet form containing 18 % crude protein and 15 % crude fiber. Least square analysis revealed the effect of genetic groups and season of kindling on various reproductive and growth traits. Genetic groups were significant source of variation for litter size at birth and weaning. The highest litter size at birth (8.07± 0.42) has recorded when NZW female is crosses with GG male and the lowest (5.62 ± 0.42) for NZW X WG. Most of the genetic groups differ among themselves for litter size at weaning. The season of kindling has significant effect on these traits. Pre-weaning mortality was the highest in kits born during the rainy season as there was more humidity in that season, consequently there was more disease problems. Season of kindling also had significant effect on the growth in the early weeks. Kits born in winter season had the best growth rate up to 20 weeks of age and afterwards the differences among seasons were non-significant. Heterosis was significant for litter size at birth and non-significant for litter size at weaning. Existence of variance in pure- bred was non-significant for litter size at birth and significant litter size at weaning. General combing abilities, maternal abilities and sex- linked effects were significant for litter size at birth and weaning. Specific combining abilities were non- significant for these traits. Analysis of variance representing heterosis and combining abilities for post weaning body weight at two weeks interval up to 24 weeks revealed that heterosis was non significant at all the stages of growth. General combining abilities for post weaning body weight at two weeks interval up to 24 weeks revealed that heterosis was non significant at all the stages of growth. General combining abilities were significant source of variation for body weight at these stages. There was very little role of dominance or non-additive gene action for these growth traits and improvement for this post-weaning body weight cannot be achieved by way of simple crossing. The medium to high estimate of heritability for litter size at birth and weaning showed that improvement in these traits is possible through selection. The heritability estimates for litter weight at birth was high whereas, heritability for individual weight at weaning was low had shown poor management, which can be improved by adopting better management practices. The heritability for body weight at different ages were medium to high, indicated that additive genes controlled these traits. The genotypic correlation between litter size at birth and litter weight and size at weaning were positive and low which indicates that increase in litter size may affect weaning weight adversely. Heterosis for litter size at birth was significant and the cross of New Zealand White female with Grey Giant males had shown the highest combining ability and highest heterosis for litter size at weaning. Individual weight at weaning and weight gain subsequently was influenced more by environmental factors and can be improved by better management and feeding. The general combining ability for weight gain at weaning and subsequent weight gain were significant, thus, these can be improved by selection. Recommendations 1. Genetic group and season has its role on litter size at birth and weaning. New Zealand White has more kits per litter. 2. Season of kindling has its impact on litter traits and there is high mortality in kits born during rainy season due to high humidity. 3. Season of kindling effect initial growth of broiler rabbit. Kits born in winter season have best growth rate. 4. Medium to high heritability estimates for litter size at birth and weaning indicates possibility of improvement in these traits through selection. 5. Positive and low genetic correlation between litter size at birth and waning indicate that litter size at birth may affect weaning weight adversely. 6. The general combining ability for weight gain at weaning and subsequent weight gain were significant thus these can be improved by selection *************** *************** Studies on the Comparative Performance of Crossbred and graded-up Cows under Field Conditions in Agro-climatic Zones I & II of Himachal Pradesh. (1995 – 1997) P.I. Dr. Sanjeet Katoch Co-P.I. Dr. G. D. Vashist, Dr. Y.P.Thakur and Dr. N.K.Vashist Budget: 4.97 lakh This project was undertaken during 1995-1997 in 48 villages covered by four artificial insemination centers in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh falling under agro climatic zone II of the state which served as the project area and also in 12 villages in adjoining district of Hamirpur in agro-climatic zone-I of the state which served as control or non-project area. The impact of cross breeding programme was adjudged over the earlier survey conducted by the IASRI, New Delhi during the period 1981 to 1983 in same areas but retaining only 50% of the villages covered under the earlier survey. The present study was undertaken with the following major objectives: 1. To study the impact of crossbreeding and grading up programme in cattle in improving the genetic potential for various economic traits in project area. 2. To evaluate the reproductive efficiency of crossbreds and non-descript cattle in the project and non-project areas. 3. To assess the impact of crossbreeding on socio- economic status of cattle breeders in project and non-project areas. The study revealed that the households engaged in animal husbandry activities in project as well as non project areas were mostly marginal farmers. The proportion of crossbred or improved cattle had increased from 15.35% to 41.96% of the total livestock population in the project area while it constituted 32.40% of the total livestock population in non-project area. Keeping buffaloes as milch animal this area also gaining popularity increasing from 11.25% to 16.55% during this period in project area and accounting for 20.12% of total livestock in non project area. The sheep, goat and equine husbandry has, however, shown a declining trend. Majority of the household (approx. 80%) were maintaining up to 3 animals with remaining 20% keeping 4 or more animals showing a decline in the number of households keeping larger herds. The reproductive performance of crossbreds and graded up cows were observed to be better than the non-descript cows as reflected by the lower age at first conception and first calving. The averages for two traits were 35.58±1.65 months and 44.83± 0.94 months in Jersey x Non- descript x Red-Sindhi and 52.25± 1.12 and 60.22± 2.90 months in Non-descript cows in project area. These traits had shown improvement over the performance recorded in the earlier study, however, the number of inseminations required per conception were higher (3.25± 0.06) in improved cows including both the crossbreds and graded up than the non-descript (2.97± 0.06) in the project area while the reproductive efficiency in terms of number of inseminations required per conception was better in improved cows (2.98± 0.03; 3.26± 0.07) than non-descript (3.48±0.05) in non project area. The calving interval was observed lesser in Jersey x Non- descript cows ranging from 404.11± 5.97 days to 460.90± 22.78 days across the lactation orders than three breed crosses of Jersey x Red Sindhi x Non-descript (452.90 ±3.85to 458.43 ± 13.9 days) as well as non-descript (423.75 ± 39.63to 540.00 ± 24.49 days). Further the calving interval has shown improvement over the earlier estimates reported by IASRI. Similar trend among the genetic groups was observed for lactation milk yield with Jersey x Non – descript half- breds performing far superior (lactation yield ranging from 1499.7 ±53.09 Kg to 1709.2± 51.3Kg) than Jersey x Red Sindhi x Non – descript (1000.7 ±32.8 to 1031.7± 51.3Kg). The lactation milk yield of non – descript cattle was observed as 472.3 ± 70.9to 507.5± 27.1Kg. The performance of Jersey x Non – descript as well as non – descript cows was observed better in non project areas suggesting better quality of livestock and keeping practices in these areas which falls in agro – climatic zone. However, a significantly, positive increase in milk yield over the earlier study was observed in the field conditions indicating that management practices for maintaining improved cattle have improved leading to higher milk production. The frequency distribution of cows in different milk yield classes revealed that among Jersey x Non– descript maximum proportion (19.57%) was in 1400-1600 Kg milk yield class; whereas in Jersey x Red-Sindhi x Non–descript approx. 90% of the cows were in 1000-1200kg class (47.40%) and 800-1000kg class (41.23%). The milk yield per day of lactation length and milk per day of calving interval were observed 3.89 kg and 3.25 kg in Jersey x Non – descript and 2.56 kg and 2.43 kg in Jersey x Red Sindhi x Non–descript against 1.55 kg and 0.94 kg in Non descript hill cows. These traits have also shown improvement over the earlier study. Similar was the trend for lactation length and dry period. The lactation length was observed higher (360.97 ±8.3 days and 361.28± 5.49 days) in improved cows than non – descript (290.44± 4.53 days) but lower than 452 and 384 days reported in the earlier survey. The dry period had also declined to 58.33±11.30 to 77.85 ±8.44 days in Jersey x Non – descript cows against 103 days reported in earlier study. The dry period was far lesser than that observed in Non – descript cows (131-195days). The simple correlation coefficients were positive and significant between age at first calving and calving interval (0.362± 0.067) and lactation length and calving interval (0.574± 0.176) in graded up cows. The extent of exotic Jersey inheritance best suitable for keeping under farmer conditions in these areas was adjudged by comparing the different exotic grades for important economic traits. For lactation milk yield Jersey x Non – descript cows with 75% and 87.5% Jersey inheritance showed superior performance (1685.04± 18.38kg and 1689.66± 26.74kg) than half-breds (1521.53±23.36kg) with similar age at first calving; lactation length and dry period. Inclusion of red Sindhi blood to reduce the non descript component to minimum level had not yielded results with Jersey (50%) x Red Sindhi (25%) x Non descript (25%) cows performing poorest for lactation milk yield but having earlier age at first calving (40.38 months). The incidence of abnormal calving was observed negligible (less than 1%) in improved cows and similar to non – descript. The sex-ratio was also observed around 50% for all the genetic groups. The maximum calving in improved cows occurred in rainy season (42-60%) and winter season (38 –70%) similar to the non-descript cows (43.50% and 46.80%). Significantly lesser calving occurred in summer months. The mortality pattern revealed more deaths in younger stocks of less than 6 months in improved calves (42.05%) similar to non-descript (46.67%), which declined subsequently. Among the milch stock maximum mortality (21.67%) in improved cows occurred after completing first lactation against second lactation observed in non -descript cows (20.87%). The feeding strategy adopted in survey areas had also revealed more feeding of concentrate to improved cows (1.22kg and 1.15kg per days) than non descript (0.38kg per day) and the concentrate availability to improved cows has further improved over the earlier survey (0.80kg per day) while keeping same for non descript cows as 0.36kg per day. A crossbred cows in milk obtained 33% of its DCP from concentrates; 41% from green fodders and 26%through dry fodder while the contribution of three fodder resources to TDN availability was 12%; 39% and 49% respectively. About 55% of the cattle breeders in the areas are utilizing AI facilities for breeding; 16% prefer natural service and 29% have equal preference for both the AI and natural service. To summarize, the performance of improved cows comprising Jersey x Non – descript and Jersey x Red Sindhi x Non Descript were observed far superior to non descript for most production / reproduction traits, with Jersey x Non descript showing better performance than Jersey x red Sindhi x Non descript whereas the adaptability and survival performance of improved cows was similar to non descript. The lifetime production index of progenies of 100 normal calving revealed approx. ten fold (9.9 times) lifetime milk production in improved cows (370.2 tones) than non-descript (38.4 tones), which was 5.5 times in the previous survey in the same areas about a decade ago. Recommendations 1. C ross-bred animals increased from 15.35 % to 41.96% in project area whereas, they are 32.40 % in the non-project area. 2. Reproductive performance of cross-bred and graded animals was observed better than the non-descript cows. 3. Half-breds were found to be superior to non-descript for all the milk production traits. 4. More milk yield was obtained in cows having higher (75% & 87.5%) exotic inheritance. 5. Incidence of abnormal calving was negligible in improved cows. 6. Mortality in younger stock less than 6 months of age was low in improved calves than the non-descript. 7. The improved cows require better feeding and management for enhanced productivity. 8. The lifetime production of improved cows was approximately 10 times more than the non-descript cows. ****************** Characterization and Conservation of Important Sheep and Goat Breeds of Arid Zone (2000 – 2004) P.I. Dr Kamlesh Gupta. Co-P.I. Dr. S . Katoch,C.L. Marwaha and Dr. O.P. Kaila Budget: Rs. 23.7Lakh NATP funded project has been under taken for the characterization and conservation of Gaddi breed of sheep and goat. An extensive survey of the breeding tract viz. Kangra, Chamba and Kullu has been done. Data on approximately 3000 animals has been collected on various morphological, production and reproduction parameters. Data on the performance traits like milk yield wool/ fiber yield and quality had also been studied. Physiological parameters like rectal temperature, pulse and respiration rate and incidence of disease were also recorded. The analysis of the results of the study is summarized as below. The sheep is mainly reared for meat, wool, skin and manure. Approximately 30 per cent of the flock in the state are migratory which remain away from their home place throughout the year and rest are stationary grazing on alpine pastures during summer and in and around home during winters. Migratory flocks moves from 300-3000 meters above MSL with various resting points in between the migratory route. They remain in open through out the year and depend upon the vegetative cover of the area. No extra feeding is done. Lambs are reared on suckling and then on grazing. The flock size ranges from 100 to 250 breedable ewes. Natural breeding once in a year is followed during April to July. Wool shearing is done twice in a year during March -April and September – October. Gaddi sheep are medium in size with body weight of lamb at birth is 3 kg. Average body weight of adult male and female sheep was 34 and 32 kg respectively. The finisher lamb at slaughter weight approximately 30 kg with 50 per cent dressing percentage. Head is convex with mostly pendulous ear and wattles absent. 60 percent of the sheep have small to medium straight horns. They have medium to long pendulous ears. Beard absent and have small tail. Gaddi sheep matures approximately 16 to 18 months and the estrus cycle of 21 days and estrus duration 28 hours with lambing intervals as 375 days and mostly produce one lamb per lambing. Most of the Gaddi sheep wears long lustrous wool of white colour but patches of black and brown are not uncommon. Head and bally covered with wool. Annual wool production is 1 to 1.5 kg. The type of wool is of carpet type with staple length, fiber diameter and modulation as 4.23 cm.; 30.89μ and 14.32 % respectively. The goat is reared for r hair, skin, fur, manure, milk, transport, meat and blood as food. Approximately 60 per cent Gaddi goats are white in colour but pure black and brown are also found. Body coat is hairy type. These goats are also medium in size. The body weight of kids at at birth is 3 kg and the adult weight of male and female is 38 and 36 kg respectively. Head is convex with long pendulous ear. Wattles are absent. Approximately 50 percent of goat have small to medium straight horns. Approximately half the population have beard. Goat is used for meat and milk purpose. The slaughter weight of 30 kg with 50 percent dressing percentage. Skin percentage is around 8%. Average milk yield is approximately 350 gm per day with 5.21 % fat and 6.91 % SNF. Goat matures between 1.5 to 2.0 years. Gaddi goat has breeding season twice in a year i.e. in the month of April – May and October – November. The estrus cycle is of 21 days and estrus duration is 30 hours. The kidding interval is 378 days. They mostly produce single kid per kidding. Recommendations 1. There is a vast variation in production and reproduction parameters of these sheep and goats, which suggests great scope in the improvement of their productivity status of the species. 2. Selection of elite rams/ Bucks from the farmers’ flocks for breeding purpose and to be exchanged with other breeders may reduce the chances of inbreeding and lowering its effect on production and reproduction traits. 3. The breeders should be made aware of the importance of the breeds and its sustainability, towards disease aspect and the nutritional status in the present farming system of the state. 4. Training of the breeding for machine sharing to save time and minimize the sharing losses to improve the quantity and quality of wool. 5. Open Nucleus Breeding farms to produce improver rams and bucks are set up in the state to bring about genetic improvement in the productivity traits in these species. ***************** Improvement of Migratory Sheep Production Programme for Tribal Farmers of North- West. (2000 – 2005) P.I. Dr. O. P. Kaila. Co-P.I. Dr. Kamlesh Gupta, Dr. Alok Sharma, Dr. Rajesh Katoch Budget: 25.15 lakh The improvement of migratory sheep production programme for the tribal farmers of North – west was undertaken to improve the livelihood and nutritional status of the tribal sheep breeders through available breeding, nutritional and health technologies. These migratory sheep breeders graze their flocks in the Alpine pastures during summers and in the low hills during winters. It takes at least three months to reach them at the other location. During migration these flocks undergo considerable loss in the production parameters due to migration stress, limited grazing resources and stress due to region specific infections and infestations. To minimize this loss the project was undertaken with following objectives. To improve productivity of migratory sheep by application of breeding, nutrition and health technologies. To provide livelihood security round the year by improving the productivity of sheep To provide nutritional security to the tribal community of hilly and backward communities of the state. To fulfill the objectives the flocks selected for the work were grouped in to four groups to work out the minimum level of critical breeding, nutritional and health in puts as the available technologies. The losses due to migration stress and nutritional deficiencies were minimized by providing different combination of these interventions to these flocks and increased the productivity of the migratory sheep. Increase in the productivity of these flocks has improved the economic status of the sheep breeders. 15 to 20% increase in the production parameters have been achieved through the use of different combination of interventions. The increase has also improved the livelihood status and the nutritional security of the migratory sheep breeders. The migratory sheep breeders are forced to take single lamb crop in a year due to harsh climatic conditions and passing through difficult terrains of the state. They are helped in increasing their lamb crop through the use of proper number of improved breeding males breaking inbreeding in their flocks by replacing the breeding male after two three years. Using nutritional and health technologies have improved the body weights at various intervals. The birth weight of lambs has been increased by 12.29% in the group of ewes getting all the inputs. The body weight of the adult animals has also been increased by 27.26% in the same group of animals. Higher body weight does not only helps in getting higher price of the animals at marketing but also effect the other production parameters such as wool production and reproduction directly or indirectly. The cumulative effect of these interventions on all the production parameters has provided extra income to the sheep breeders and helped in improving the livelihood and nutritional status of these tribal people. An increase of 47.79 and 29.48% in the annual wool production of the animals of group getting all the three inputs was recorded during the period of four years of interventions. The individual contribution of the interventions was 1.18, 29.50 and 17.11% in young and -7.15, 21.02 and 15.61% in the annual wool yield of adult animals due to nutritional, health and breeding interventions. The total animals available for sale depend on the replacement rate of the flock as well as the total births during the year. More is the number of live lamb born during a year more will be the male lambs available for sale. The number of live lamb depends on the conception rate, lambing percent and total abortions during a lambing period. If the factor responsible for the reduction in these traits are taken care of the more lambs per lambing season can be obtained. Number of breedable ewes conceiving during a season depends on the general health of the flock and the number and potential of the breeding males in the flock. With the intervention of breeding, nutrition and health technologies the conception rate of the migratory sheep flocks, which was 61.48% in the 2001, has been increased to 70.11% in 2004. An increase of 14.03% in the conception rate of these flocks has been observed. The other deciding factor for increasing the productivity and income is the abortion rate in the flocks. If there is more number of abortions the lambing percent will be less. The cases of abortion have been reduced from 7.02% in 2001 to 4.89% in 2004, a reduction of 30.44% in abortion cases has been observed. The individual contribution of nutrition, health and breeding interventions towards the reproductive parameters was observed as 3.62, 4.69 and 11.27% in conception rate, 4.96, 5.25 and 16.93% in lambing percentage respectively. A reduction of 14.59, 28.76 and 37.57% due to the intervention of nutrition, health and breeding technologies was observed in abortion cases. The improvement in the production parameters will not be of much help if there is high mortality in the flock. Poor health, migration stress and unavailability of the veterinary help during migration are the main cause of high mortality in the migrating sheep flocks. Producing healthy lambs though breeding, nutritional and health intervention the mortality rate has been reduced from 10.5 in 2001 to 9.13% in 2004 in the young lambs. Whereas, the mortality in the adult animals has been reduced from 9.27% in 2001 to 7.62 in 2004 by using recommended production techniques. The individual contribution of the three interventions was observed as 3.59, 17.10 and 11.94% in young and 9.71, 14.84 and 9.86% in adult due to nutrition, health and breeding interventions. Linkage for the feedback established has been utilized for incorporating the impact of the project on the migratory sheep breeders. The breeders were approached either telephonically or whatever means was available and recorded the information regarding the residual effect of the interventions provided during the project period and the possibility of the continuation of these critical interventions for future by these breeders to enhance the productivity of their sheep flock. Although some of the breeders were reverting to their old zero input practices but some had shown their interest in continuing the technologies as demonstrated to them during the time of five years. They have shown keen interest as they have realized that the productivity of their flocks have certainly increased by adopting breeding, nutritional and health technologies. All the flocks could not be approached due to shortage of time whatever data could be collected revealed that the trend reported earlier has continued its reflection on growth parameters. The observations have revealed that if the migratory flocks are subject to normal six monthly drenching and dipping schedules and are treated for area specific infections they produce healthier lambs, which grow faster then the lambs born in flocks following traditional practices. Recommendations 1. One male for every 50-60 adult ewes should be kept to increase the breeding efficiency of the ewes. 2. Breeding males should be replaced every 3-4 years to minimize effect of inbreeding on productivity parameters. 3. There should be a gap of at least 15 days between two flocks migrating on the same route to minimize feeding stress. 4. Approximately 8-10 gms. of mineral mixture/ week/ animal mixed with common salt should be provided to the migratory sheep flocks. 5. The sheep breeders should follow complete health coverage viz. vaccination against various diseases and six monthly drenching and dipping for controlling endo and ecto- parasites. 6. Any incidence of sickness should immediately be noticed and thoroughly examined and treated by a qualified veterinarian. ***************** Characterization and Conservation of Chegu Goats (2000 to 2004) P. I. Dr. Y. P. Thakur Co-P. I. Dr. Kamlesh Gupta Budget: 19.55 lakh The Chegu, like most other breeds of mountains goats, is believed to have originated from Capra sibirica, commonly known as Himalayan Ibex. It is believed that the local farmers and traders from Kinnaur and Spiti areas of Himachal Pradesh used to visit the adjacent Tibetan territories along the border and ladakh in summer through the mountain passes for the purchase of woolens, pashmina and pashmina goats. This breed of goats is reared at an elevation of above 12000 feet. This resembles to changthangi breed in body confirmation and other characteristics but is smaller in size with lower pashmina yield. Chegu goat is also known as Chayangra / pashmina and is mainly reared for ‘pashmina’ the valuable textile fiber course hair, manure, hide & skin and milk to a limited extent. The average population of Chegu goats is 6800 to 7000 out of which 3500 are adult. The population in Himachal Pradesh has declined in recent years. The important characteristics of Chegu breed include adaptation to high altitude topography, harsh cold climate, tough mountainous migration and survival on scarce forages. The Chegu is a sturdy, highly active but docile, curious, inquisitive and intelligent animal. The body confirmation is typical with small sized low set, sturdy body and short legs as an adaptation for the mountains. The body is covered with thickly grown long hair beneath pashmina undercoat as winter protection against extreme cold. Pashmina goats are short eared with twisted horns. The coat colour, as expressed by the main hair coat, is highly variable. The animals are having both patched and solid colours. About 26 to 14 percent of these goats are pure white and pure black in colour respectively and the rest are in combination of reddish brown, black- brown, black & white, tan and white spotted. White strip on the forehead is a distinct mark on the face. The head is slightly convex with concave forehead. The ears are erect. Approximately 93 % of the population has large straight upward and backward horns. The birth weight of Chegu kid is found to be 1.96 kg. in females whereas it is 2.04 kg. in male kids. The male and female Chegu goat at one year of age weighs about 14.73 and 12.96 kilograms respectively. The body weight of an adult female at first kidding is about 19.60 kg. The average weight at slaughter of a male is 19.4 kilograms With 46.18 as dressing percentage. The skin is 8 percent. The combing is done at the age of 12 months with 58.39 gram of fiber per combing. The hair clipping is done annually with 10 to 15 centimeter hair length. A Chegu goat mature at the age of 17 months and the oestrus cycle is 18 days. Conclusion – Highlights 1. Chegu goats are originated from Capra sibirica and mainly reared for pashmina fiber, meat and to some extend milk also. 2. This resemble changthangi goat in body confirmation but smaller in size with lower pashmina yield. 3. These goats are sturdy highly active, docile, inquisitive and intelligent animals. 4. The body confirmation is small, low set with small legs. 5. The body is covered with thickly grown long hair beneath which is an undercoat of pashmina. 6. They have both spotted and solid colours. 7. They have short ears with twisted horns. 8. They yield about 58 – 65 grams of fiber per combing. *************** Network Project on Animal Genetic Resources Survey and Characterization of Spiti Horses (2000-2004) P.I. Dr. Sanjeet Katoch Co- P.I. Dr. Kamlesh Gupta, Dr. Y. P. Thakur Budget: Rs. 20.76 Lakh Net-work Projects for survey and Characterizing various livestock species has been taken up by National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources, Karnal. This Institution has been selected for the survey and Characterization of Spiti Horses. The main breeding tract of Spiti horses is the Pin Valley region in Spiti subdivision of Lahaul and Spiti district. The Spiti horses migrate from Lahaul and Spiti to Kangra district at altitude of 2000 – 4000 feet MSL. Breed name Spiti is derived from the name of breeding tract and they are also called Chamurthi horses. Its scientific name is Equus caballus. Estimated population is approximately 4000 horses in its breeding tract. They can be reared both in closed and open houses. On an average the number of breeding females are 0.80 and number of replacement female are 0.12 / family / household. Mating methods is completely natural. Body colour is mostly grey and then black and brown. There are no marks and no spots found on the head and body. Lip colour pattern have also no marks. Fore limbs and hind limbs are also same as body colour. Tail colour is 60 percent same with body colour. Whorls are absent. Erect ears with small black eyes. Heavy set of head, deep chest, and slightly sloped shoulder, low withers with short and sturdy legs. Mammary glands are flattened and approximately 2-5 cms. in length during lactation. Spiti horses are used for different purposes like transportation, riding, and both. Approximately 50 percent Spiti horses are used for transportation as well as riding both. Near about 75 percent horses have medium capacity for work per day. The breeders practice symptomatic treatment (both local and allopathic) against the commonly prevalent diseases. The average thickness of the skin of the Spiti pony was 1.7 mm. The skin of the dorsal wall of the body and trunk was thicker than that of the ventral wall. The nuchal ligament is the most powerful elastic apparatus, which assists the extensor muscles of the head and neck. It is longer in comparison to other breeds of horses, which helps the animal to walk and carry load in steep mountains. Body weight at birth in male and female is 31 and 29 kg respectively. Weight at one year is 97 kg male and 77 kg female. Body weight above 3 year in male and female is 227 and 203 kg respectively. Tail length of young male and female is 29 and 35 cm respectively. Body length, chest girth and height at withers of an adult horse are 124, 141 and 131 cm respectively. In case of male, age at training of the stallion is 12-24 months; age at first ejaculation is 21 to 26 months and age at first service is 28-32 months whereas, female come in to oestrus first time at the age of 15-24 months. Average oestrus cycle is of 19-23 days and oestrus duration is 144 -240 hours. Age at first foaling is 41-46 months. Gestation period is 326-340 days. Age at first covering is 30-34 months. Conclusion – Highlights 1. The spiti horses are found in the Spiti valley of Lahaul & Spiti districts. 2. The body colour is basically grey but black and brown are also not uncommon. 3. They are best pack animal for high mountains with medium working capacity. 4. In spiti horse the skin of the trunk is thicker than the ventral wall 5. The baby foal weighs approximately 30 kilogram at birth whereas the body weight of adult male and female house is 227 and 203 kilogram respectively. 6. Average age at training of the stallion is 12 to 24 months whereas, the age at first ejaculation is 21 to 26 months and age at first service is 28 to 32 months. 7. Female comes in heat first time is 15 to 24 months with oestrus cycle of 19 to 23 days and oestrus duration of 144 to 240 hours *********** Network Project on Animal Genetic Resources - Rampur Bushair Sheep (2004-2005) P.I. Dr. Sanjeet Katoch Co- P.I. Dr. Kamlesh Gupta, Dr. Y. P. Thakur Budget: Rs. 21.79 Lakh The Rampur Bushair is a prominent sheep breed of north temperate region of the country, reputed for medium apparel/fine carpet wool production. The breeds has its home tract in southern region of Himachal Pradesh with distribution from high hills to low hills/valleys regions of the state as well as the adjoining hilly areas of Uttaranchal. The breed is highly suitable to the migratory sheep and goat production system prevailing in the area. The main breeding tract is distributed with in 30°22’ to 33°12’N latitudes and 75°45’ to 79°04’E longitudes. This comprises the entire revenue districts of Shimla, Kinnaur, Sirmour and parts of Kullu, Solan, Bilaspur, Mandi and Lahaul Spiti revenue districts of Himachal Pradesh. Previously, about three decades ago farmers in the entire districts like Solan, Bilaspur, were rearing this breed, but with time period most of them left the sheep rearing due to cheap and easy availability of synthetic wool with the fast development of hosieries using imported yarn in adjacent states like Punjab and Haryana, shrinking of grazing land and obnoxious growth of weeds like lantana in traditional pastures and lack of interest due to economical reasons. The farmers in Spiti, Kinnaur, and Shimla are keeping sheep both migratory and stationary. In rest of the areas the flocks are mostly migratory. Though the breed is listed among the recognized sheep breeds of the country, yet comprehensive description of the breeds, in terms of morphological characteristics, performance parameters and demographic patterns of distribution was still lacking. The current population of animals confirming to true breed type is still more than 90 thousands in the breeding tract. But the indiscriminate crossbreeding with exotic fine wool breeds like Rambouillet carried on in the breeding tract particularly among the large sized flocks with the objectives of improving the wool quality had lead to sharp decline in the breed population recently. As such breed conservation strongly is required to be taken up particularly in dense pockets of distribution so that the breed status can be improved. The comprehensive description of the breed based on the observation record on animals of different age groups/sexes under farmer’s flocks has been carried on under the project. The Rampur-Bushair sheep is a medium sized animal with variable fleece colour (brown, black, white and admixture of different coloration) males invariably horned with thick, curved horns in different orientation, females are usually polled and the extremities of limbs and face devoid of wool, covering. The growth and body biometry of the animal has been recorded. The birth weight of the lamb was averaged around 2.31 Kgs with wide range 1-4.5 Kgs. The adult body weight was approx. 25-26 Kgs with range between 16 to 46.5 Kgs. Males are slightly heavier than females. The body length is 28.98 cms with chest girth of 32.89 cms. The production potential of the breed for reproductive and wool production and quality characteristics has been evaluated based on observations under farmer’s flock conditions. The adult rams and ewes matured at the age two years. The fleece wt. was between 250- 500gm per shearing and animal is sheared twice a year. The staple length of wool fiber ranged between 2.86 and 10.6 cms. The fiber diameter averaged 31.09 (μ ) with range between 22μ-48μ .The high variability with the population suggests high scope for genetic improvement in wool production both as quantitatively as well as qualitatively. A genetic improvement programme based on selective breeding within the existing population can bring further improvement in wool traits. Conclusion & Recommendation 1. Fine carpet wool breed found in high to low hills in H.P. and Uttrakhand.. 2. Breed is suitable for migratory system of sheep production. 3. Animal are of medium size with variable fleece colour (black. Brown, white and admixture of different colouration). 4. Males are invariably horned with thick curved horns of different orientations and females are usually polled. 5. Extremities of limbs and face are devoid of wool covering. 6. Birth weight ranges from 1 – 4.5 kg and adult’s weight ranges from 16 to 46.5 kg. males are slightly heavier then females. 7. Due to crossbreeding with exotic breeds the population is declining and needs attention for its conservation. 8. Intervention in marketing and improving the performance through selection by establishing a nucleus breeding farm is recommended.
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