The Zeri ewe is an indigenous Italian breed that is spread throughout the homonymous area located in northwest Tuscany. This article presents the history and evolution of Zerasca sheep, describes the breed’s characteristics in terms of somatic and productive traits, managerial and health practices, meat quality; moreover it underlines its contribution to the preservation of the rural land and population of the Zeri district. First documentation on this breed dates back to the 19th Century (Antonelli, 1845). Zerasca breed has a medium-large size with white fleece. Males present horns while in females can be absent. Currently Zerasca ovine population totals more than 2,000 heads. Sheep husbandry is currently predominant in Zeri area thanks to the great availability of woody vegetation (oak, chestnut, hazel, alder and beech trees), meadows and pastures. Animals’ nutrition depends mostly on grazing pastures, infact flocks are generally supported only with a little nutritional supplementation. The first typical production is the heavy lamb that is gaining more and more relevance thanks to its excellent meat quality, unique in taste; infact, Zeri lamb is included in the list of Slow Food Presidia, reflecting the recognized quality of this product in the world.Most of shepherds jointed in a consortium for the valorization and safeguarding of Zerasca sheep and lambs, whose regulation points towards the implementation of extensive farming systems with an optimal exploitation of local pasture resources. One of the most important problem that Zerasca sheep farmers often complain is represented by gastrointestinal parasitism, almost endemic in sheep husbandry and particularly in sheep raised under extensive systems. Today, “Zeri lamb” has a considerable economic impact on its territory, ensuring increasing profits for shepherds. The aim of this review is to collect information about a native breed in endangered status that it is gaining importance thanks to the high-quality of products.
|Autori:||Benvenuti, MARIA NOVELLA; Goracci, J.; Giuliotti, Lorella|
|Titolo:||Zerasca sheep: environment, characteristics and production|
|Anno del prodotto:||2013|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|