Breeding Association of Maritsa Sheep Breeds

The Association was established on 8th August 1990 as a non-profit legal entity. The purposes of the founders was:

• to preserve two local sheep breeds “Byala Marishka” (White Maritsa) and “Vakla Marishka” (Patch-faced Maritsa) like valuable sheep genetic resources;
• to overcome their risk of extinction;
• to improve their productive traits by pure breeding.

In 1991 the identification of sheep associated with the breeding activity, prolificacy and milk yield recording was initiated. In 1991 the prolificacy and milk yield recording was introduced. The beginning of animal identification was combined with breeding activities and initial zotechnical register was started to complete.

In 1993 the pedigree books for the two sheep breeds were introduced. In 1997, an information system for lactation calculations and collection of data from milk recording and proloficacy was developed (Dimov, 1997).

In 2006 the First autumn exhibition of the two breeds was held at 28 october 2006 (Izbegli, Plovdiv region). Twelve autumn exhibitions have been held so far, with the latest exhibitions being conducted in the courtyard of the Agricultural University of Plovdiv.

In 2007, a new integrated information system of zootechnical records and pedigree books for both breeds began. In 2008, the development turned into a new information system for monitoring and management of the Maritsa sheep. The new information system integrates the entire database for both breeds and allows quick access to any herd and animal entered into the information system.

On17.06.2011 the association received from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry for the second time, a breeding license with the two breeds. The association is comprised of 94 sheep breeders from Plovdiv, Pazardzhik, Haskovo, Sofia, Vratsa, Blagoevgrad, Kardzhali, Kyustendil, Yambol, Sliven, Stara Zagora and Bourgas regions, keeping the breeds Byala Marishka and Vakla Marishka. Many specialists, PhD students and students from the Agricultural University of Plovdiv take part in the activity of the Association.