The Sheep Breeding Research Station, Sandynallah of the Nilagiri district was established during the year 1950-51. It has a land area of 708.67 acres, of which about 500 acres is maintained as natural grasslands. The entire area consists of rolling hills with an average elevation of 2230 metres above mean sea level. The annual rainfall ranges from 800 to 3000 mm.
This research station in its fifty years of existence had two different mandates implemented in two phases. In the first phase (1950-72), the mandate was to improve the meat characteristics of Nilagiri sheep through crossbreeding with exotic dual-purpose sheep breeds. In the second phase (197390), the mandate was to improve the wool yield and quality of Nilagiri sheep by crossbreeding with Merino and Rambouillet sheep.
The Nilagiri breed of sheep is a short statured wooly breed, inhabiting the hilly regions of the Nilgiris district in Tamil Nadu. It has a crossbred base and contains unknown proportions of inheritance of Coimbatore, Tasmanian Merino, Cheviot and South Down breeds. The breed was evolved during the nineteenth century. Both males and female are polled with a few males having a horn spur.
The Sandyno breed of was developed at Sheep Breeding Research Station, Sandynallah by crossing Merino/ Rambouillet with Nilagiri breed of sheep. The Sandyno sheep contains 5/8th inheritance of Merino / Rambouillet and 3/8th inheritance of Nilagiri sheep. The males are either polled or horned and the females are polled.
The Nilagiri breed of sheep had adapted over years to the Nilgiri hills of Tamil Nadu. It is a fine wool variety and is more valued for meat rather than wool. A cross-breeding programme to improve the meat characteristics of Nilagiri sheep was initiated at Sheep Breeding Research Station, Sandynallah. Polled Dorset sheep were crossed to Nilagiri ewes in a phased manner over the last 17 years and a separate genetic group with uniform type and conformation has been evolved. The level of Dorset inheritance in the new genetic group is about 50 per cent.
The sheep, rabbit and geese of this Station are genetically improved on a continuous basis through selection for body weight and other economic traits. Sheep breeders are registered and they are supplied with improved rams for breeding purpose. The sheep supplied for breeding in the last three years are furnished.
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