Bannur Sheep Farming

Bannur sheep is a very old breed highly sought after for their meat, that got its names ‘Bannur Sheep’ and ‘Bandur Sheep’ from the Bannur town in the Mysore district, and from the village called ‘Bandur’, located in the Mandya district, state of Karnataka, respectively.

Bannur Mutton meat is known for its higher muscle-to-fat ratio, and therefore superior quality – so much that it is compared to Japanese “Wagyu beef” – one of the most exquisite, and expensive cuts of meat in the world!

Genetically, these sheep have a higher than average muscle-to-fat ratio – visible in the form of a thin white layer of fat well distributed over their bodies, which is why the meat ends up being so tender when cooked. Thanks to its thin layer of fat, it not only tastes better, but it cooks really quick too! And, it doesn’t have the signature strong smell that tends to put a lot of people off! The meat from these sheep is better suited for frying, like steaks, and in biryanis. Since the meat is so tender, there are chances it may disintegrate while cooking if it is minced or cut into really tiny pieces – so beware!

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Qualities of breeding Bannur sheep rams

  1. It should be purebred.
  2. It should be active, vigorous and moderate in the flesh.
  3. Age should be 2 years for breeding purposes.
  4. Retain 2 to 4 percent of all males in the flock for breeding.
  5. Select ram for growth rate and carcass trait.

Qualities of breeding Bannur sheep ewes

  1. Good health, vigor, active disposition and with a healthy look of skin
  2. Deep wide chest, strong head, back leveled, wide deep body, short legs, and moderate size
  3. Fleece should be dense, tight, uniform quality.
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  4. Preferable age for breeding 2-5 years.
  5. The udder should be sound, smooth, soft pliable with both teats functional.
  6. Ewe should be full-sized.
  7. Have a uniform built and slightly longer body.
  8. Roomy hindquarters with well-formed udder.
  9. The motherly instinct to raise the lambs.
  10. Active foraging habits.
  11. Be prolific in the production of lamb.
  12. Select ewe for maternal effect.
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Bannur Sheep Housing

  1. Provide minimum housing requirements which will increase productivity.
  2. Protect the young lambs, pregnant ewes and breeding rams against inclement weather conditions and predators.
  3. Provide 9-10 sq ft. of space for Bannur sheep
  4. Sheds measuring 60ft x 20ft having thatched or asbestos roofing can accommodate about 120 sheep
  5. Provide 2” thick thatched roofing during summer months

Feeding, watering and grazing management in Bannur Sheep

  1. Sheep generally thrives best on growing pasture
  2. Rotational grazing and spelling of pastures should be followed to avoid worm infestation and unthrifty malnourished in sheep.
  3. Conserve fodder in the form of hay/silage for meeting the demands during the lean period.
  4. Supplementary feeding with minerals and vitamins to keep the sheep healthy.
  5. Sheep consumes 2 to 3 liters of water per day.
  6. Provide water once a day in watering trough or channels.
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Breeding management of Bannur sheep

  1. Age of maturity of Bannur ram -12 months.
  2. Age of maturity of Bannur ewe-12 months.
  3. Age of Bannur ewe for mating- 18 to 24 months.
  4. Detection of oestrus by
    a. Symptomsvalvular swelling, frequent urination, restlessness, reduced appetite.
    b. Teaser – used after applying wet paint on the brisket to teaser ram to spot the ewes in oestrus which
  5. carry paint color marks on the back due to mounting.
  6. The number of ewes per ram – 15 to 20.
  7. Separate Bannur rams for about 12 hours in the day time and then return to flock at night for pen mating.
  8. Breeding seasons for sheep
    Summer – March to April
    Autumn – June to July
    Winter – October to November
  9. Average oestrus cycle – 17 days ( 14 to 19days)
  10. Average oestrus period – 30 to 36 hours
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  11. Time of ovulation – 12 hours before the end of the heat.
  12. The average gestation length of Bannur ewes is 148 days.
  13. Best time for mating 20 hours after the start of heat preferably in the morning or evening.
  14. Sheep breeds more with the shortening of daylight hours.
  15. Maximum useful age of ewe – 6 to 7 years.
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Pregnancy diagnosis in sheep

This is very important in sheep management and also to undertake re-breeding of empty ewes at the earliest.
The signs for pregnancy diagnosis are as follows

  1. Observing ewes for the cessation of heat.
  2. Ballottement of the belly from three months onward
  3. Chemical test – Take 5 ml of a urine sample and add 5 ml of barium chloride solution (1%). Mix if turbidity is seen, the ewe is pregnant, clear solution indicates the nonpregnant condition

Care during pregnancy period in sheep

  1. Housing the pregnant ewes in separate enclosures.
  2. Provide green leguminous fodder ad libitum(as you desire).
  3. Avoid taking them for long-distance for grazing.
  4. Provide enough protein, energy, water, and minerals in the feed.
  5. Provide clean and safe drinking water.
  6. Keep houses clean and well ventilated.

Care of newborn Bannur lamb

1. Ensure the nose and mouth are free of membranes and mucoid fluid immediately after birth.
2. Clean the mucus from the body of the lamb and make it dry.
3. Cut the navel cord with sterile scissors leaving 3 cm from the body and treat with tincture iodine.
4. Weigh the lamb and record it.
5. Allow the ewe to lick the lamb.
6. Help the lamb to reach the teats of ewe for suckling.
7. Make sure the lamb gets the colostrum or first milk.
8. Keep the lamb in a clean and sheltered place.
9. Protect the lamb from chillness by wrapping in a blanket.

Health management in Bannur sheep

a. Deworming
Sheep should be given deworming regularly to keep them free from endoparasites. It should be done before the onset of the rainy season, after cessation of rains and before spring showers. The frequency of deworming may be increased in lambs which are more prone to parasitic infections

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b. Dipping
The sheep should be dipped for against the external parasites and it may be done after shearing of the wool.

c. Vaccination
Vaccination of sheep should be done against the most common diseases like Enterotoxaemia, Sheep Pox, Haemorrhagic Septicemia, Peste des petits ruminants and Foot and mouth disease at the appropriate time of the year.

d. Give antiseptic foot baths to check footrot and foot diseases.

Vaccination Schedule for Sheep

No.DiseasePrimary vaccinationRegular vaccinationMonth for vaccinationDose and Route
1Anthrax6 months and aboveAnnually in an endemic areaFebruary1 ml, Subcutaneous
2Hemorrhagic septicemia6 months and aboveAnnually before monsoonJune 2 ml, Subcutaneous
3Black quarter6 months and aboveAnnually in an endemic areaJune2 ml, Subcutaneous
4Enterotoxaemia4 months and aboveAnnually in an endemic areaMay2 ml or 5 ml, Subcutaneous
5Foot and mouth disease4 months and aboveTwice in a yearSeptember and March1 ml, Subcutaneous or Intramuscular
6Peste des petits ruminants  3 months and aboveAnnuallyJanuary 1 ml, Subcutaneous or Intramuscular
7Sheep pox3 months and aboveAnnuallyDecember1 ml, Subcutaneous or Intramuscular
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