Mohammad J. Tabbaa1,2, Faisal S. Barakeh3, Maher M. Baker4
1 R&D, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, P.O. Box 52150 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
2 Department of Animal Production, School of Agriculture, University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan
3 Animal Production, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, P.O. Box 52150 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
4 Animal Health, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, P.O. Box 52150 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Tabbaa, M. J., Barakeh, F. S., & Baker, M. M. (2019). Factors influencing farmers decision on breeding objectives and selection criteria for sheep breeds in Abu Dhabi Emirate, UAE. Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science, 25(1), 141–152
Farmers’ participation in defining breeding objective and selection criteria is necessary for successful application of breeding programs. A questionnaire was prepared and tested, and a survey was conducted in order to obtain farmers opinions on breeding objective and selection criteria that could be adopted for different sheep breeds in Abu Dhabi Emirate (UAE) and understand the factor influence farmers’ opinion. The main breeding objectives were meat production (97%), disease resistance (39%) and adaptability to environment (37%). Fewer farmers considered breed unique morphology (20%), milk production (10%) and fiber production (2%). Breed of sheep, region, property type and flock type and size significantly influenced farmers’ opinion on breeding objectives except for meat and milk production which were not influenced by any of these factors. Multiple selection criteria were chosen by sheep farmers of the UAE for replacement ewes, with only three out of twelve were subjective while the rest were objective criteria. Growth rate, twining ability, fertility and body morphology were the most important ewes’ selection criteria considered by the sheep farmers (63-76%). Similar to ewes, twelve multiple selection criteria were chosen for ram improvement, though, more subjective selection criteria were emphasized on rams than that on ewes and more significant differences were found among the different ram breeds of sheep. Growth rate (86%) and body morphology (82%) were the most important rams’ selection criteria. Differences in adoption selection criteria due to breed, region and production system including property type, flock size and type need to be considered in order to achieve maximum possible genetic improvement out of a sustainable breeding program for sheep in UAE.