About the Awassi breed
Awassi sheep originated in the Syro-Arabian desert. Awassi
is an extremely hardy breed, with a very calm temperament,
used for a range of products to include milk, meat and wool. In particular, it
is renown for being one of the highest milk producing sheep in
In Australia, the Awassi is a rare breed that not many are familiar with (unlike the more established imported European breeds).
Awassi sheep have unique physiological characteristics such as resistance to
many diseases and parasites, walk long distances over pastures for grazing,
tolerating extreme temperatures, and enduring adverse feeding conditions. It
easily adapts to different environments and performs as well as in its native
Awassi sheep are well-adapted to the poor
Mediterranean pasture and can compensate for under-nutrition during the dry
season by using the stored energy reserves in their fat tail. The breed is also known for having a high
mothering ability. Due to its high milk producing potential under harsh
conditions, the Awassi breed can be used as a sire breed in improving milk production
of many indigenous Asiatic and African breeds.
Other names used to refer to the awassi or a variation of this breed, include: middle-eastern sheep, fat tail sheep, persian sheep, turkish sheep, assaf, Ahwaz, Aouasse, El Awas, Iwessi, Oussi, Ussy, Na'ami, Naimi, Nami, Neahami, N'eimi, Nuamiyat and Shami.
We have adopted a number of assisted reproduction technologies (ART) for our genetic improvement programs to include: Estrous synchronization, artificial insemination as well as Multiple ovulation and embryo transfer (MOET). This has allowed us to increase the rate of genetic progress by selecting elite animals (of high genetic merit) to produce more offspring than would be possible by natural breeding.
The picture below, shows a typical elite awassi ewe (on the left), which after being super-ovulated (with hormones) and flushed, produce embryos which are then transferred into the uterus of recipient ewes, to produce awassi lambs similar to the ones on the right, reared by 1st cross merino ewes (their surrogate mothers).
breeds we have recently been experimenting with to cross breed with the
Awassi include: East Friesien(Black and white), Damara, Van Rooy, Dorper and Ronderib Afrikaner (or
Awassi x East Friesien (also known as Assaf) has been the preferred cross breed for milking purposes, whilst the Afrikaner crosses have proved to be the most hardiest. It's also been sought after for meat production, as they generally have fatter tails and don't require as much shearing, as the Afrikaner is a shedding sheep. (Pictures to the right, show Afrikaner crossed with Awassi ewe lambs on top and Awassi crossed with Afrikaner ram lamb at the bottom), with very
strong and consistent signs of the traits sought, to include: large
fat-tails, fast growth rates and high levels
of fertility and hardiness.
To watch some of our awassi rams, please click on the following link: Awassi Rams Video
To watch another ram with some of our awassi ewes, please click on the following link: Awassi Video
To watch a short video of our milking ewes, click on the following 2 links: clip 1 and clip 2
To watch a short clip of our sire Afrikaner ram, please click on the following link: Afrikaner Video