The reproduction of sheep and goats is essential for the
survival of Mongol pastoralism. The animals are culled annually
for food, hide, and skin, and many do not survive the harsh
winters. Replenishment of the herds and flocks, therefore,
is vital. But encouraging successful procreation and survival
of the young requires tremendous skill and knowledge.
Another threat to the survival of the sheep and goats are
wolves. They generally attacked the young but were also known
to threaten adult animals. Herders kept and trained fierce
dogs to protect the herds from such predators. In addition,
the Mongols periodically went on hunts to cull the wolf population.
Bounty from the Sheep: Autobiography of a Herdsman,
by Tserendash Mankhainyambuu, translated from the Mongolian by Mary
Rossabi, with introduction by Morris Rossabi (Cambridge: White
Horse Press, 2000).