Pramenka Sheep

Breeds and animal husbandry - Bosnia and Herzegovina

Pramenka sheep are a highly valued sheep breed from Bosnia and Herzegovina. They are well suited to a region in which livestock breeding is difficult. Historically speaking, Bosnia and Herzegovina has a very rich history of shepherding. It has been calculated that there are only few thousand of purebred sheep of this sort today, following a general trend of decreased sheep numbers. There were 4 million sheep in Bosnia and Herezegovina in 1939, while in 1990, total sum was around 1.3 million. Today's total estimation is half of that number. The value of the Pramenka breed lays in the fact that it is an indigenous breed of sheep in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This allows all the products from this sheep to be protected by quality marks.The breeding area of this sheep is in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but various sub-varieties of this breed are grown in different parts of the country. Usually, during the springtime, sheep are led to pasture in the mountains where they remain until the fall, before they are returned back during the winter. Most breeders have between 5 and 150 heads in their herd. Nowadays, a few breeders keep their whole herd on the farm year-round.Body weight of the grown up sheep goes from 25-32 kilos, with males weighing about 30% more than females. The height is around 49-55 cm. The length of the trunk is around 50-58 cm. Life expectancy of the sheep is 9 years. The first impregnation is when sheep are 8 or 9 months old. Birth weight of a lamb is 2.5 kilos, and daily growth for a lamb is 0.15 kilos. Ewes are hornless, rams are horned or polled. The fleece color is white, or, rarely black and the head is overgrown with short hair which is white with tiny black freckles. Its legs are slim and black, or freckled with white. Milk production in this breed is low.Milk from Pramenka is usually used for cheese production (Livno cheese, cheese from the sheepskin sack, Vlaši?/Travnik cheese). One of the most important factors is the high quality characteristics of Pramenka milk, which has a huge influence on the flavor and quality of locally produced cheeses.The owners of these sheep can easily sell the lambs of this breed better than the lambs of other breeds, as they are lighter and more compact, and that is exactly what local market demands. Unfortunately, export is low, probably because of lack of a widespread and well developed veterinary network.