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Preservation and development of the Ertebølle sheep

  • Funded by: The Danish Agrifish Agency
  • AU head of project: Senior researcher Elise Norberg, Center for Quantitative Genetics and Genomics
  • Collaboration partner: The breeding association for the Ertebølle sheep and NorGen LiveStock
  • Project period: 1 January 2016 – 31 December 2017
  • Grant amount: 400.000 DKK

Project description:

The Ertebølle sheep is a low improved land race sheep from Vesthimmerland in the northwestern part of Jutland. It has been known for more than 100 years. The sheep are robust and has a good temper. They give birth and take care of their lambs themselves, and thrive in nature areas without supplementary food. The breed is therefore suitable for grazing of nature areas, but also for hobby breeders, museums, popular dissemination centres, schools, etc. Recently conducted genomic analyses show that the Ertebølle sheep is genetically distinguished from the two other lines of Danish Landrace Sheep, Hulsig and Klitfår, and represent a genetically homogenous group. It will therefore be desirable to preserve the Ertebølle sheep as an independent breed in the future. In collaboration with the association for the Ertebølle sheep, the purpose of the present project is to establish the basis for a sustainable preservation and development of the breed. The project will be functioning as a script for preservation and development of small populations, as the project describes all necessary elements for a successful preservation work. The concrete results will be communicated by the breeders in collaboration with the Association for the Ertebølle sheep, who will assist the breeders in the making of individual breeding plans. Furthermore, we will produce information material for the distribution to new stakeholders.