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The Olkuska sheep

Address:
Imbramowice
GPS:
50° 18' 23.0256" N 19° 51' 55.3176" E
Description

The Olkuska sheep is a native long-wool breed of sheep, originating from the former district of Olkusz (north-western Lesser Poland) in the interwar period. This breed was obtained by crossing the local primitive population of ewes with Pomeranian rams. The Olkuska sheep lives in small herds and has a well-developed maternal instinct, quite good milk yield and it is resistant to disease and tolerates harsh environment. Sheep are grazed throughout the season, from late April to the first days of October, feeding on vegetation characteristic of the Jura including numerous species of medicinal plants used in herbal and folk medicine. Apart from those species, other plants characteristic of mountain climate can also be found in the Jura. They are the glacial relicts which survived in these areas after the last glaciation. The Olkuska sheep is unique in the country due to the high fertility of the breed. Single litters are rare. The Olkuska ewe usually gives birth to two or three lambs, but there have been cases of giving birth to a litter of as many as seven lambs. Throughout the period of rearing lambs up to 3 months, the primary food is breast milk. From the third week of life the lambs are allowed free access to the feeders which contain - at the beginning crushed oats and high-quality hay. Mothers with lambs are held together as long as possible, which is beneficial for the development of lambs and learning how to feed themselves.

The Olkuska prolific sheep has been presented at numerous national and international exhibitions. In 1990 in Paris, the breed was awarded the medal of the best prolific sheep at the Exhibition of Primitive Farm Animals. In 2002, the Olkuska prolific sheep, the first and so far the only native breed of sheep, was exported abroad for breeding in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The uniqueness of this event is all the greater because our native breeds of farm animals are rarely exported for breeding. The interest of foreign breeders in the Olkuska prolific sheep is the best confirmation of the exceptional traits of this sheep and gains from breeding it, including the production of lamb.

 

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