Bovec Sheep

Slow Food Presidium

Austria

Breeds and animal husbandry

Cured meats and meat products

Milk and milk products

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Bovec Sheep

Diversity and individuality are probably the keywords that apply to one of the oldest Austrian sheep breeds still in existence: the Bovec Sheep (also known as Krainer Steinschaf in german and Plezzana in italian)

Steinschaf means stone sheep, one theory says that it comes from the fact that the sheep have to forage for food on stony, sparsely vegetated slopes in the high mountains during the summer.

According to another theory, the name "Steinschaf" refers to the geographical area of the "Steiner Alpen", a mountain range on the border between Carinthia and Slovenia.

While it was considered the most important sheep breed in the Alpine region around 1900, with its core area in the border triangle of Austria, Slovenia and Italy, it became increasingly less important in the second half of the 20th century with the spread of modern high-performance breeds.

The Bovec Sheep is robust, frugal and stress-tolerant. It has a pronounced herd instinct and outstanding maternal qualities. It’s a hardy breed that is well-adapted to the mountainous terrain of its native region. It is known for its good health and longevity. The sheep are typically hornless, and they have a short, coarse coat that is black, white, or brown in color. Some sheep may also have a speckled pattern. Ewes typically weigh 50-60 kg, rams 80 kg, and yearlings around 50 kg. The breed is known for its good health and longevity.

This breed is raised for a variety of purposes, including meat, milk, and wool. The meat is considered to be of excellent quality, with a subtle, delicately spicy flavor. Due to the high-quality feed, mostly exclusively grass or hay, as well as the modern farming conditions, the fine-fibred meat has a high proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The extensive grazing contributes to the slow growth and thus to the special meat quality.

The milk is used to produce a variety of dairy products, among these we can find yogurt (plain and flavored), semi-hard cheese (aged 3 weeks), soft cheese, and white mold cheese (matured 1 week). The wool is coarse and thick and was once used for domestic purposes and the production of loden.

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In order to save it from extinction, the 1990s saw the start of targeted breeding of the population under species-appropriate husbandry conditions. Since 1995, the breed has been recognized as "highly endangered" in the FAO’s Öpul programme and is promoted as a "rare livestock breed".

In 2023, the Slow Food Community "Krainer Steinschaf" was founded by ten breeders from Carinthia, it’s composed by a very colourful group from all the beautiful corners of Carinthia who have dedicated themselves to breeding the Bovec Sheep. The main objective of this project is to safeguard this native breed as well as to promote it locally and raise awareness among consumers.

Another goal for the presidium is to connect all the breeders from different countries in order to strenghten their collaboration to preserve this breed.
Austrian Producers:
Hinteregger Karin, Jäger Sabine und Michael,Klinar Mario,Koch Thomas & Gerhild,Müller Hannes,Sackl Claudia,Seibold Leo,Stoxreiter Manuela, Radziwon Maria,Wieltsch Clemens.
Presidium Coordinator

Claudia Sackl
claudia@steinerhof.bio
In order to save it from extinction, the 1990s saw the start of targeted breeding of the population under species-appropriate husbandry conditions. Since 1995, the breed has been recognized as "highly endangered" in the FAO’s Öpul programme and is promoted as a "rare livestock breed".

In 2023, the Slow Food Community "Krainer Steinschaf" was founded by ten breeders from Carinthia, it’s composed by a very colourful group from all the beautiful corners of Carinthia who have dedicated themselves to breeding the Bovec Sheep. The main objective of this project is to safeguard this native breed as well as to promote it locally and raise awareness among consumers.

Another goal for the presidium is to connect all the breeders from different countries in order to strenghten their collaboration to preserve this breed.
Austrian Producers:
Hinteregger Karin, Jäger Sabine und Michael,Klinar Mario,Koch Thomas & Gerhild,Müller Hannes,Sackl Claudia,Seibold Leo,Stoxreiter Manuela, Radziwon Maria,Wieltsch Clemens.
Presidium Coordinator

Claudia Sackl
claudia@steinerhof.bio

Territory

StateAustria