Muzaffarnagari sheep is one of the tallest and heaviest mutton breed of the country. The breed has derived its name from its native tract- Muzaffarnagar district of Western Uttar Pradesh. Muzaffarnagari sheep are mainly distributed in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining districts of Western Uttar Pradesh. However, a sizeable number of animals is also found in some parts of the Delhi and Haryana states. The breed is highly adaptable to semi-arid region and is known for faster growth rate and is mainly meant for mutton purpose but also produces sizeable quantity of wool which is not of fine quality. Being large sized breed, Muzaffarnagari sheep are genetically capable of producing single lamb and only 5% females give birth to twin lambs. Birth of triplet lambs is a very rare occurrence in this breed.
The selective breeding being undertaken Network Project on Sheep Improvement for mutton production at Central Institute for Research on Goats has improved its twinning rate to around 14.0%. The age at first lambing has also reduced to 590 days. This year, for the first time since the inception of the project in 1976, one ewe has given birth to triplet lambs which is the first such case reported in the country. The total weight of these triplets at 2 month age was 20.8 kg against 12.5 kg in single born lambs which was 8.3 kg higher (66.4%). Thus, the higher weights of triplets at 2 month and subsequent ages over single born lambs is an important factor for the sheep keepers to get higher returns per sheep. This rare phenomenon of triplet birth invites attention of Animal Breeders and Geneticists to produce more number of twins and triplets in Muzaffarnagari sheep through various breeding and reproduction techniques. The multiple births in this breed will go a long way in enhancing mutton production in the country.
(Source :Email: dr_vineetbhasinhotmail [dot] com)