Translated from Instituto do Campo.
Conscious of Galician Sheep´s risk of extinction, and of the importance of guaranteeing the survival of the last examples of the breed, a pure bred flock with optimal health standards was founded, as well as establishing measures for the later exploitation by the farmers who form a part of our rural culture. This is why INORDE created a flock of Galician Sheep on the farm ¨Armariz¨(Nogueira de Ramuin), property of the Ourense Provincial Government.
This was a typical farm breed up until recently. They are seriously threatenned by the introduction of rams from heavier meat breeds into the flocks and the later raising of these crosses, which resulted in the gradual loss of the breed. The breed´s most important characteristics are prolificacy(elevated percentage of multiple births), fertility (ease of reproduction), hardiness (highly adapted to survive adverse conditions), longevity (long productivity) and very good maternal instincts. The Galician breed consists of animals of small stature, well balanced proportions, heavily coated and white in color, dedicated to meat production. Within the stated initiative, one of the aims is to guarantee the preservation of the last examples of the Galician Sheep breed, establishing as its objective their multiplication beginning with that initial guaranteed healthy flock, with the goal of their future distribution to the community´s farmers.
In visits to sheep farms one could see the serious danger of extinction faced by this breed, caused by crossing with heavier meat breeds (to produce faster growing lambs with higher carcass weights) and the breeding of these crosses. Today there are very few pure blood flocks, with the additional difficulty in finding rams to avoid consanguinity, and also the animals are of an advanced age.
The program began in 1999 with visits to a large number of regional sheep farms to assess the state of the breed and acquire animals for the foundation flock.
During this period INORDE formed a flock on the Armariz farm of approximately 100 head. They were acquired from 17 different farms to assure genetic variability, and come from three provinces (Coruña, Lugo and Ourense). The selection of these animals was based on morphology and productive properties characteristic of the breed.
The first objective is to create a purebreed flock, the next objective is repopulation of farms with these sheep, and as such INORDE will publish criteria for the granting or subsidized sale of rams or groups of ewe lambs to farmers interested in the program. Animals will be tracked.