Sheep and goat population both down in Gozo and Comino
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The sheep population in December 2011 amounted to 11,887 heads, down by 4.0 per cent over 2010. The sheep population in Gozo and Comino amounted to 3,324 heads, or 28.0 per cent of the total stock. Over the comparative period, the sheep stock went up by 0.5 per cent in Malta, but declined by 13.8 per cent in Gozo and Comino.
In comparison to 2010, the goat population decreased by 9.2 per cent in Gozo and Comino. This amounted to 1,073 heads, or 21.7 per cent of the total.
Male sheep registered an 8.8 per cent gain, while lambs and ewe lambs fell by 33.0 and 6.6 per cent respectively. Ewes, the most important category with 78.6 per cent of all sheep, edged down by 0.2 per cent over the corresponding period in 2010.
72.0 per cent of all sheep were located on holdings in Malta, with the South Eastern District accounting for 31.7 per cent.
Last year, 1,374 holdings were engaged in the rearing of sheep. 77.6 per cent of all holdings reared less than 10 sheep and accounted for 31.2 per cent of total stock with 3,714 heads. In contrast, only 22.4 per cent of all holdings reared more than 10 sheep, with a combined total of 8,173 sheep or 68.8 per cent of the total stock.
In 2011, the goat population stood at 4,938 heads, down by 3.4 per cent over 2010. The decline in stocks resulted from drop in goats mated for the first time (-32.3 per cent) and goats that had already kidded (-4.5 per cent). In contrast, kids and male goats advanced by 46.1 and 7.4 per cent respectively.
In comparison to 2010, the goat population decreased by 1.6 per cent in Malta. Overall, 3,865 goats (78.3 per cent) were found on Maltese holdings, of which 30.7 per cent, or 1,188 heads, were located in the South Eastern District.
Last year, 846 holdings were engaged in the rearing of goats, of which 86.3 per cent had less than 10 goats. These holdings accounted for 43.7 per cent of the total stock. On the other hand, only 15.1 per cent of all holdings had more than 10 goats. These holdings comprised 2,778 heads, or 56.3 per cent of the goat stock.