Vlashko Vitoroga Sheep

Breeds and animal husbandry - Serbia

The Vlashko Vitoroga sheep is an indigenous breed of southern Banat, of the areas of Kovin, Vrsac and Bela Crkva in eastern central Serbia. Experts believe that it is closely related to wild sheep, with only the most traditional methods of selective breeding used by farmers. It is characterized by particular spiral twisted vertical horns, which are similar to the horns of antelope and some races of goat, that reach up to 1 m long. Both males and females exhibit horns. The Vitoroga is a small sheep breed. Adult males average 40 kg, and females average 35 kg. The wither height of adult males is about 57 cm for males and 50 cm females. Fleece is composed of whip-like locks long enough to touch the ground. Wool is of a black or chestnut color, and the wool quality is variable, but acceptable for use in textile products.The sheep are very resistant and modest with regards to feeding, care and housing; they graze in the pastures of Deliblatska from spring to winter, and are provided hay in the colder months, with a small amount of grain during the breeding period. One sheep gives on average 0.7 and a maximum of 2 liters of high fat milk daily, used in cheese production. Lactation lasts 5-6 months. The May Carnival of Flowers in Bela Crkva is the event in which the breeders of Vitoroga sheep participate, exposing their most representative animals and promoting this breed. The Belgrade zoo has also contributed to the preservation of this indigenous breed of sheep. Currently there are only around 500 heads, and agricultural economists say there is no economic calculation for profitable breeding of this breed. It is necessary to produce and to actively keep at least 1,500 heads of this sheep to avoid its eventual extinction.