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 the world.

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 habitat.

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. hercules_2.jpg

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.

Current trials

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).


Other 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 Africaner) breeds.


The 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 afrikaner_cross_awassi.JPGhigh 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




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