Hortobágy Racka Sheep

Ark of taste
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Hortobágyi racka juh

The Hortobágy Racka sheep is an ancient sheep breed that is farmed for its wool, meat and milk. It was originally from Hungary and belongs to the Zackel type (Ovis aries strepsiceros Hungaricus), known for its unusual spiral horns. Rams may have horns 50 centimetres long. The ewes also have horns, which are at least 30 centimetres long. Females weigh around 40 kilograms and males weigh around 60 kilograms. The fleece on their head and legs is brown, varying from dark brown to light brown or white or black. The wool is long and coarse (the wool is 12 to 40 microns). On average, rams produce about 3 kilograms of wool.

The average yield of milk is about 60 litres.

The Racka sheep is a very strong and rustic animal, that is suitable as a grazing animal.

Hortobágy National Park, also called Hortobágy Puszta, is where the breed gets its name and it is located in eastern Hungary. Its territory is a Steppe that is part of the Great Hungarian Plain, which has been used for grazing since ancient times. It is the largest remaining grasslands in Central Europe and its surface is more than 800 km².

The first written records of animals with V shaped horns dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1903 this breed was threatened by extinction and after the Second World War there were only a few heads left, but since 1950 their breeding has increased slightly. In 1983 the Hungarians founded an association of Hungarian breeders of Racka (Magyar Rackajuh-tenyésztő Egyesület): the objectives of this association are the conservation of the breed and the management of the genetic database.

Currently this type of sheep is bred in purity and it is also bred in increasingly more places, because it is undoubtedly a great tourist attraction.

Its meat is marbled but low in fat overall, very nutritious, and is very refined and tasty.

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Production area:Hortobágy National Park

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Breeds and animal husbandry

Nominated by:Olga Rendek