Sheep: Domesticated 11,000-15,000 years ago Cattle: Domesticated 10,000-15,000 years ago Camel: Domesticated 10,000-12,000 years ago Goat: Domesticated around 6000 – 7000 years ago Horses: Domesticated approx. 5,000 years ago
Photo of the site of Ganj Dareh, Kermanshah Valley, Iran under excavation in the 1970s. New research confirms that this site contains the earliest directly dated evidence of livestock domestication in the world. (Photo supplied by Brian Hesse, University of Alabama at Birmingham). Domestication history of ruminants
Two main stocks of wild sheep: Asian mouflons (Ovis orientalis) Asiatic Urial (Ovis vignei) The main wild progenitor of domesticated goat: Bezoar goat (Capra aegagrus)
Why ruminants are important for human? Ruminants refers to grazing animals that have the ability to: Digest and metabolize cellulose (plant fiber), and ferment it to form the volatile fatty acids (VFA) Produce microbial proteins that the animal can then digest and use.
Why ruminants are important for human? Ruminants have the ability to: Convert plant carbohydrates and proteins into available nutrients for human use Making otherwise unusable land productive They can be utilized to control weeds or to harvest crop residues Grazing animals can also be an added source of income
Why grazing animals are important? However proper care of the land and its grazing animals requires a sound understanding of ruminant nutrition
Grazing animals in Iran There are nearly 150,000 dromedary camels living in the desert areas (South and Central) of Iran. This is 0.56% of the world camel population and 3.8% of the Asian camel population (FAO, 2011).
Grazing animals in Iran Number of sheep, goat and cattle (×1000 head) in Iran during different periods Adapted from: R. Valizadeh, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad
Grazing animals in Iran Iranian sheep and goat industry is characterized by: Owned by small farmers Based on extensive grazing Highly influenced by the environmental variables (rain fall, weather, feed supply, drought etc.) Economic variability due to uncertainty in feed availability, weather, rainfall, market, export and import animal products mainly food materials
Grazing animals in Iran Iranian sheep and goat industry is characterized by: Its number or increment rate is declining in comparison with the past decades because of urbanizations industrialization, low income, etc. Genetic structure and physiological characters of the most Iranian sheep and goats are not clear
Grazing animals in Iran Iranian sheep and goat industry is characterized by: No comprehensive standard investigation had been carried out on distinguishing different breeds of these animals What is known as breed of sheep or goat is based on the apparent physical conformation All of the Iranian sheep breeds, except one (Zel breed) are fat-tail types
Grazing animals in Iran Iranian sheep and goat industry is characterized by: Although Iranian sheep and goats are grouped according to their main product, but generally they are kept for providing different products or sources of income including: meat, milk, fiber and hide These small ruminants are resistant to high level of inorganic minerals in feeds and forages
Grazing animals in Iran Iranian sheep and goat industry is characterized by: Iranian sheep and goat live and produce over a remarkable wide range of environments from the desert type dry and warm climate to the mountainous cold zones Iranian sheep and goats appear in different color from white to the completely black and many classes between
Grazing animals in Iran Iranian sheep and goat industry is characterized by: Iranian sheep produce mainly coarse fiber which is suitable for Iranian carpet industry Most of Iranian breeds are high–set animals which is a suitable character for grazing over the rocky and mountainous areas
In grazing situations, ruminant nutrition affected by different biological and climatological variables: Importance of the nutrition of grazing animal Plant species, Forage stage of maturity, Soil fertility and water holding capacity, Annual and seasonal precipitation, Mean temperature and etc.
What are seven principles of ruminant nutrition? 1- Ruminants are adapted to use forage because of microbes in their rumen. 2- To maintain ruminant health and productivity, feed the rumen microbes, which in turn will feed the ruminant. 3- Ruminant nutrition needs change depending on age, stage of production, and weather.
4- Adequate quantities of green forage can supply most- if not all- the energy and protein a ruminant needs. 5- Forage nutritional composition changes depending on plant maturity, species, season, moisture, and grazing system.
6- Supplementation may be necessary when grass is short, too mature, dormant, or if animal needs require it (high-producing dairy animal). 7- Excessive supplementation may reduce the ability of the rumen microbes to use forage.