Sakiz sheep

Breeds and animal husbandry - Turkey

Sakz Koyunu Sakiz is the Turkish name for the Greek island of Chios in the Aegean Sea, and so the Turkish Sakiz breed of sheep is probably the same as the Greek Chios breed. It is also called Çesme in Turkey. The Sakiz sheep was probably brought to Çesme, a town on the Karaburun peninsula in the province of Izmir, about 150 years ago. Initially, it was crossed with Kamakuyruk sheep, a semi-fat-tailed sheep, but the percentage of Sakiz genetics increased with subsequent importations and breeding. The fat deposit at the base of the tail today may be a result of this earlier crossbreeding. Sakiz sheep have fine white wool with black spots and speckles around the mouth, eyes and on ears and legs. Rams have long spiral horns; ewes are usually hornless. The breed is the tallest among local sheep breeds and weighs an average o f 40 - 45 kg. Management of Sakiz sheep is quite different from that of Kivircik sheep, a breed also raised in Izmir. Sakiz sheep are kept in groups of 2 - 6 animals to supply meat and milk required by individual families. They, and their byproducts, are not generally sold commercially. The Sakiz has a high milk yield and is highly prolific, averaging two lambs per birth. Their milk is used for making various types of cheeses, and their meat is lower in fat than that of other sheep varieties. During most of the year, they are kept pastured and also feed scraps and excess of families' fruits and vegetables. During the winter they are kept and fed in simple stalls. There are registered flocks and rams available for breeding purposes kept by government agencies and universities; however, registration of sheep is not generally practiced in the field. During the Ottoman era, Sakiz sheep were among the most important animals in the Aegean region. During the weddings, they were the most valuable gift to present to bride's family, and during the Muslim Feast of Sacrifice, a Sakiz ram would be sacrificed in the name of the Ottoman Sultan at the palace. In 1983, Sakiz sheep numbered 30,000, but today the population has greatly declined. They are distributed along the coastal towns of Çe?me, Urla, Seferihisar and other Aegean towns in the Izmir province and are poorly adapted to other parts of the country. With human migration to urban areas, there are fewer livestock farmers, who face low profitability and generally lack formal training and organization among themselves.