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A - Z SOAL JAWAB MENGENAI BIRI-BIRI

1. WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT'S POLICY IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF SHEEP REARING?

In line with the National Agricultural Policy, priority has been given to commercialised small ruminant cultivation. Integrated rearing in rubber, oil palm and other primary agriculture plantations is carried out to reduce the production cost.

This activity will and is currently being focused at potential areas such as FELDA, FELCRA, and RISDA plantations, including private plantations and individual farms.

2.WHAT IS THE ADVANTAGE OF THIS INTEGRATED SYSTEM?

The advantages include fertilisation of the crops in the plantations, reduction of weed controlling cost between 20-30%, while providing a lucrative side income.

3. CAN THE SHEEP BE REARED IN OTHER AREAS APART FROM RUBBER AND OIL PALM PLANTATIONS?

Yes, provided there is a grazing area and the sheep does not damage the primary crop; for example in coconut plantations, fruit orchards and cocoa plantations.

4. WHAT IS THE ECONOMIC SCALE OF SHEEP REARING?

Reasonable returns, obtained by culturing at least 100 ewes. This objective may be achieved if the birth rate is 150% per year and mortality rate is not more than 5% per year.

5.HOW MANY SHEEP CAN BE CULTURED INTEGRATEDLY?

This depends on the age of the primary crop and the availability of grass/weed under the primary crop. Generally, rubber and oil palm aged 2-3 years can accommodate 3-4 sheep per acre. As the crop ages, lesser number of sheep can be cultured.

6. WHAT SHEEP VARIETIES ARE SUITABLE TO BE CULTURED COMMERCIALLY?

The imported Polled Dorset or Dorset Horn varieties are found to easily adapt in oil palm and rubber plantation areas. The Dorset Horn–local sheep or Polled Dorset–local sheep hybrids are currently encouraged for large scale cultivation based on their resistance towards diseases and better growth rates compared to the local sheep.

7. WHAT SHEEP VARIETIES ARE AVAILABLE IN OUR COUNTRY?

There are 3 groups:-


1. Local sheep (MALIN);
2. Exotic Species (originating from overseas);

  • Dorset
  • Wiltshire
  • Romney
  • Suffolk
  • Corriedale
  • Border Leicester

3.The hybrids of the breeds above.

 

8. HOW DOES ONE OBTAIN A CROSSBREED?

There are 2 methods:

  • The rearer may purchase a crossbreed from the private sector, supplying agent or government farms.

  • Rearers may also produce crossbreeds of their own by mating the imported male sheep with the local females or the imported females with local males.

9. WHY MUST MALAYSIA IMPORT SHEEP FROM OVERSEAS?

In achieving the target of one million sheep in 2000. The National sheep population must be increased to at least 130,000 in 1990. Imports will not only increase the population but also increase the productivity of local livestock through the breeding programme.

10. I OWN AN AREA AND WISH TO BE A CULTURIST BUT I HAVE INSUFFICIENT CAPITAL, WHAT MUST I DO?

You may apply for a bank loan to build a pen, purchase sheep and the supplements and get free advisory services from the Department of Veterinary Services. Or you may provide the entire infrastructure and apply for the sharecrop sheep from the Department of Veterinary Services.

11. WHAT DOES THE SHEEP SHARECROP SYSTEM MEAN?

It is a system whereby the rearer are provided female sheep to rear, and for each sheep that is used in the sharecrop, the rearer must return a lamb not older than 9-month old to the Government and it must be done within 36 months.

12. HOW ABOUT TRAINING?

Training will be provided at the Kluang Animal Institute for 5 days and participants may be placed at the hostel of the Institute. Or you may apply to obtain local trainings (in situ); at the Departmental project area, such course/training can only be provided for 1-2 days.

13. WHAT ARE THE STEPS TO BE TAKEN ONCE I HAVE RECEIVED THE IMPORTED SHEEP?

  • Feed it sufficiently.
  • Pay close and careful attention.
  • Submit a report to the Veterinary Office should there be any signs of illnesses or abnormalities.
  • Minimise aggravation in the first week.
  • Add in the anti stress medication in their drink.
  • Segregate the heavily pregnant group, ill and mother with cubs only after 2 weeks.

14. WHAT IS THE BEST CULTURING METHOD IN THE INTEGRATION PROJECT ?

  • The semi-free system.
  • Graze during shady time and placed in pens during hot weather and at night
  • Feed them with some bran in the evening and cut grass at night to be sufficient until the morning before being let-out.
  • Clean drinking water at all times.
  • The cages in between the primary crops must have proper ventilation and floor area.
  • Cage must be easily cleaned.
  • Separate cages/plots for ill, gestate and the cub sheep.

15. WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA FOR A GOOD CAGE ?

  • The pens must be strong.
  • Proper air ventilation including an open roof area.
  • Located at a dry area, near the grazing area.
  • Sufficient floor area, at least 7 square feet (0.65 square meters) per sheep.

16. IS IT NECESSARY TO PROVIDE CUT GRASS IN THE CAGE?

A necessity especially for the confined sheep. Also as a supplement at night and in the morning when the sheep is in the cage.

17. HOW MUCH GRASS MUST BE PROVIDED?

An approximate dry weight of 3-5% of the body weight. For example, a 40kg sheep, the dry weight of grass is 20%, the fresh grass given must be less than 10 kg per day.

18. HOW LONG AND WHEN IS THE BEST TIME FOR GRAZING ?

A minimum of 6 hours per day, beginning in the morning as soon as the grass is not too wet. Usually from 9.00 am or 10.00 am until 3.00 pm to 4.00 pm for the farm/Estate area. As for the open grazing field area, the grazing period may have to be divided into two periods; for example between 8.00 am -11.00 am and 3.30 - 6.30 pm.

19. WHAT IS THE MALE TO FEMALE RATIO RECOMMENDED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERINARY SERVICES?

It is recommended to be at the rate of 1 male for every 20-25 females.

20. HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD MALE (RAM) AND FEMALE SHEEP (EWE) BREEDS TO BE USED AS BREEDERS ?

Female

  • Age 1 year old

  • No defect and healthy

  • From a good lineage such as able to raise its offspring and produce enough milk for them.

Male:

  • Age 2 years and above

  • No defect, well built and possess big and strong back muscles.

  • Medium and uniformed sized testicles.

21. HOW TO MANAGE A NEW BORN LAMB?

  • Ensure the lamb received colostrums; might need human assistance.
  • Separate the lamb and mother from other groups.
  • For a weak lamb, its body need to be dried and placed in a dry area and introduced to its mother.
  • Apply iodine or any other antiseptics to the offspring's umbilical cord.

22. WHY THE NEED TO SHEAR SHEEPS' WOOL EVERY 6 MONTHS ?

The purpose is to cool the body and prevent dirt or flies laying eggs in between wools under Malaysia's humid weather.

23. WHAT IS THE FREQUENCY TO ADMINISTER ANTHELMINTIC MEDICINE ?

Once every 3 weeks. But 2 weeks after administering the anthelmintic medicine, it is recommended to inspect the faeces to check the presence of worm or worm eggs for further treatment.

24. WHAT ARE THE COMMONLY CONTRACTED BY SHEEPS ?

Worm – this can cause death. The heavy infestation of worms in the body will cause the sheep to be thin, lacking appetite, weak, diarrhetic and pale.

Orf (or Contagious Ecthyma) – is caused by virus. Orf grows on the lips, mouth and nose. The orf will damage skin and make infection easy. The infection is not serious and the sheep will recover on its own.

Bluetongue – is caused by virus. Imported sheep are susceptible to it. The cuticle of the tongue or mouth, lips and gum will be red and inflamed. Strands of saliva from its mouth and the infected sheep will be limping.

Bloated – is caused by grazing too much young grass and proteins such as legumes. It can be prevented by providing enough grass to graze.

25. HOW BAD THE EFFECT OF BLUETONGUE DISEASE TOWARDS SHEEP ?

It is untreatable but can be prevented by administering anaesthetic injection. The infection rate is 30% and the mortality rate is 5 – 50% of the infected sheep. This disease can be prevented by eliminating mosquito that carry this virus by fogging or chemical sprays such as malathion.

26. WHAT ARE THE STEPS TO BE TAKEN IF SHEEP DIES ?

The cause of dead livestock needs to be known by reporting to the Department of Veterinary Services Officer. This is important to prevent the death of other sheep based on the same cause.

The Department of Veterinary Services will prepare the death certificate, record in the sharecropper record books and conduct post mortem. The corpse will be buried at least 4 feet deep or incinerated.

27. HOW ARE THE SHEEP SOLD / MARKETED ?

The breeding ewe may be sold to private farms that require it and ram may be sold as studs or slaughtered for its meat.

At the moment there is no body or party managing the marketing of sheep but that is now being planned by government agencies under the Ministry of Agriculture.

28. WHY THE NEED TO HAVE LIVESTOCK PERFORMANCE RECORDS ?

Useful as a reference to every sheep livestock when:

  • The sheep need to be sold or eliminated

  • To preserve the breed or for breeding purposes

  • To conduct treatment and disease control

29. HOW WE CAN OBTAIN ADVICE IN REGARDS TO COMMERCIAL SHEEP BREEDING?

A number of officers at state level have been well-trained. Guidebooks have also been published.

Study tour to existing project may be arranged with Department of Veterinary Services.

30. WHOM CAN I CONTACT FOR FURTHER INFORMATION?

Please contact us at:

Veterinary Services Headquarters
Blok A Tingkat 8 & 9
Wisma Chase Perdana
Bukit Damansara
50630 Kuala Lumpur
Tel : 2540077

Or

Veterinary Services Offices
at all states
in Peninsula Malaysia.

Note

1.The word biri-biri may also be called bebiri.
2.The local sheep is also named MALIN. As such, the word MALIN must be used whenever it is associated with local sheep.