Sheep and goat are small ruminant species in India. Rajasthan ranks first in both the species in the country considering their respective population. Both sheep and goat are important sources of meat, milk, wool, valuable manure and provide foreign exchange through export. Goat is one of the leading milk producing animals in Rajasthan contributing 10 per cent to the milk production of state. Sheep and goats contribute greatly to the agrarian economy especially in the arid, semiarid and mountainous area where crop and dairy farming are not economical. They play an important role in livelihood of the large percentage of small and marginal farmers and land less labourers. They are mainly maintained on natural vegetation, common grazing land, waste land, uncultivated land and top feeds free lopping by the rural population. Tree and shrubs have an important role in sheep and goat nutrition. Leaves and pods of fodder trees or shrubs are known as “Top feeds” which serve as fodder for small ruminants. These trees fulfill the nutritional requirement of the livestock virtually free of cost during lean period when surface grass is grazed away and other type of fodder are not available.

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By (author) :

Suresh Kantwa
Shashi Pal

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Agriculture, horticulture, forestry, fishery, nutrition