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    Sheep stroll on a road covered with snow for exercise, at the National Agricultural Research Center for the Hokkaido Region in Sapporo, northern Japan. (File)

    Hokkaido Farmers’ Sheep Walk in Snow to Increase Fertility

    © AFP 2019 / KAZUHIRO NOGI
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    Those sheep that preform moderate physical activity in winter have better fertility and easier lamb delivery, specialists from Japan’s Hokkaido Agricultural Research Center revealed.

    Farmers from the city of Sapporo in Hokkaido, the northernmost Island of Japan, make their sheep walk in snow to compensate for the lack of physical activity that the animals usually suffer in winter when flocks spend almost all their time indoors in cattle sheds.

    Recently, specialists from Japan’s Hokkaido Agricultural Research Center conducted a series of observations and proved that lack of physical activity in winter reduces the fertility of sheep and makes lambing difficult, Japanese newspaper Asahi reported.

    Now, farmers make their flock of  pregnant sheep walk  1 km in the snow everyday. The winter walks relieve the animals’ stress and promote safe lamb delivery, which usually starts in Hokkaido in the middle of February.

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    agriculture, cattle, sheep, Hokkaido, Japan
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