Breton and Valais sheep babies: rare breed lambs born in Moscow Zoo

June 6

At the Moscow Zoo the babies of the Valais sheep and the Ouessant dwarf sheep were born. The latter are also called Breton dwarfs.

"Two babies were born to a Valais sheep, and one to an Ouessant sheep. The veterinarian treated the lambs' umbilical cords and conducted an initial examination. All three newborns were healthy. Mothers independently take care of their young: they lick them, feed them milk. But the lambs are already trying adult food, such as branches with green leaves and hay, " Svetlana Akulova, General Director of the Moscow Zoo, said.

The cubs live together with their mothers in a separate enclosure on the territory of the children's zoo contact zone. At first, they were afraid of visitors walking near the enclosure of the zoo, but soon began to show curiosity and began to sniff passers-by. Now newborns willingly communicate with visitors, even allow them to scratch behind the ear.

Lambs sometimes join the walks of their relatives. The Moscow Zoo is a home to representatives of five breeds of sheep, including the Border-Leicester, Valais, Ouessant, Edilbaevskaya and Jacobs four horned sheep. In total, the herd has about 20 individuals.

One can admire the lambs by watching a short video on In the future, the Moscow Zoo will publish photos and videos of the lambs on its social media pages.

The birthplace of the Valais sheep is the canton of Valais in Switzerland, thanks to which they got their name. These animals have a memorable appearance. Their color is similar to that of a badger: the body is covered with thick white fur, and the lower parts of the legs and neb are black. The head is decorated with short curved horns.

In nature, Valais sheep can be found on the pastures of the highlands, on the hills. They are very hardy: due to the dense undercoat, the animals are not afraid of low air temperatures, and strong legs and hooves allow them to move on rocky landscape, including on cliffs and vertical slopes. Valais sheep are unpretentious in food, as they have long adapted to survive in places with a sparse food supply. The height of males at the shoulders reaches 80 centimeters, females - 75. Valais sheep weigh from 60 to 90 kilograms.

Representatives of the Ouessant breed are the smallest of all varieties of domestic sheep. Their body height is from 40 to 50 centimeters, weight - from 8 to 20 kilograms. The color of the animals is dark brown, gray, black or white. The breed appeared on the small island of Ouessant in the Atlantic Ocean, which is located off the west coast of France, in the Brittany region. The origin of the breed is not known for certain. According to one version, the Ouessant sheep are the descendants of the Morbihan and Vendee lines that previously existed on the island. Or perhaps they were brought with them by the Vikings when they conquered European lands. In the middle of the XX century, Breton dwarfs were on the verge of extinction, but breeders took the remaining individuals to their estates and began to restore the livestock. In the vast grasslands, the population began to grow.

Like the Valais sheep, the Ouessant sheep are hardy and easily tolerate harsh climatic conditions. In addition, the animals have sensitive hearing, thanks to which they can notice the approach of a predator at a distance of several hundred meters. Breton dwarfs are very affectionate and sociable. They are popularly called "ecological grass cutters": sheep graze where the grass is highest, and leave behind a smooth lawn.

In May, a baby bird of crowned cranes also hatched out at the Moscow Zoo. Birds native to West and East Africa were so named due to a high yellow crest on their heads resembling a golden crown. And although the wild population is still large (according to ornithologists, it amounts to 40 thousand specimens), the number of birds is inexorably decreasing, so crowned cranes are red-listed. The bird got already stronger and has grown up, actively studying the world around it in the aviary of the House of Birds pavilion.


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