This study was carried out to investigate the effect of crossing the subtropical fat-tailed Ossimi (O) sheep with the Hampshire (H) on ewe and lamb performance. Data used involved 457 ewe records of Ossimi, Hampshire and four crosses, and 404 lamb records of Ossimi and five crosses.
Hampshire ewes performed less well than the local Ossimi ewes in various reproduction traits. They weaned 0·26 lamb/ewe run with the rams compared with 0·82 from the local ewes mated to Hampshire rams. The Hampshire ewes seemed to be anoestrous during the first part of the normal breeding season of the local ewes (May–July). Different Hampshire–Ossimi cross-bred groups showed better ewe reproduction performance than the purebred Hampshire ewes, but were inferior to the Ossimi. The first cross ewes were, generally, the best among all the cross-bred ewes and the reproduction performance declined with increasing percentage of Hampshire genes. When the first cross was interbred, ewe performance declined clearly in the F2. All cross-bred groups of ewes gave significantly heavier annual greasy-fleece weight than Ossimi ewes.
The only lamb performance trait that was improved by up-grading the Ossiroi sheep with the Hampshire breed was the first greasy-fleece weight, while lamb survival and weaning weight were clearly decreased with the advance of up-grading.
The recombined cross-bred groups ( and ⅝ Hampshire) proved to be the best cross-bred and showed considerable improvement in lamb performance traits over the local Ossimi sheep, except for lamb survival.
It is concluded that crossing Ossimi sheep with the Hampshire improved only fleece weight but not lamb production.