What are the Unique Characteristics of Merino Sheep?
You may have heard of high-end clothing brands boasting about their 100% Merino wool used in the garments. And if you haven’t heard of Merino wool, then all you need to know is that it is a high-quality valuable product that can earn the seller a pretty penny. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at Merino sheep, the breed from which Merino wool comes. So if you are wondering whether or not the sheep are the perfect addition to your smallholding or farm, or if you are simply wanting to learn more about these amazing animals.
How much Wool Merino Sheep Produce?
Specific characteristics thereof like production amounts and wool diameter will vary with the sub-speciality of Merino. Some breeds like Pepin Marino’s can produce up to 18 kilogrammes of wool a year. The wool does not exceed diameters of 24 microns for the strong broad wool categories, while ultra-fine wool is about 12 microns in diameter. There is a slight difference in Merino wool, giving the sheep a crimped appearance. The sheep are favoured for their fine wool, and as a result, they are very well suited to dry semi-arid conditions.
History and Origin of Merino Sheep
Let’s get started with some history of the Merino sheep. It is difficult to precisely determine the origin of the Marino’s It is believed that the ancestors of the sheep originally came from Spain and underwent numerous crossings with many other sheep specifically in Australia and New Zealand in the 1700s. It was here that the Marino’s as they are known today first appeared. Since then, Merino sheep have become widely available throughout the world. Setting Merino sheep apart from other breeds is their exceptionally fine and soft wool.
They adapt easily to a variety of grazing conditions and forage well. Compared to other breeds, they are on the small to medium size, mature Rams can weigh up to 100 kilogrammes, while the US max out at about 80 kilogrammes. Merino sheep can be polled which means to have horns or being polled. If polled, the horns are large and spiralled, but they appear instead of small skirts in unfolding sheep, Marino’s have characteristic wide legs and faces purpose. As you are probably aware, these sheep are favoured for their fine high-quality wool. This makes them popular among clothing manufacturers. Not only is Merino wool exceptionally fine and soft, but it also does not retain any wastage material. It is UV resistant, it can retain warmth while offering great breathability it is relatively economical and can be produced in a sustainable fashion.
How Merino Sheep is Good for meat?
Because of their small size, Merino sheep are not popular mutton breeds. However, there are a speciality Marino’s that can be used in meat production. One such example is the South African mutton Marino who have larger frames and a high-quality fleece. Their meat is lean and an excellent source of protein. Merino sheep have another use apart from their production qualities. Because of their refinements in ideal genetics, they have become a favourite foundation sheep used in the development of new breeds care.
Which type of care is required for Merino Sheep?
Merino sheep are generally quite easy to care for and can thrive in a range of environments. Whether it be exceptionally cold or extremely warm, you may need to adjust the shearing regimen depending on the ambient temperatures. If it is especially cold, the sheep will need to be shared less often and vice versa in warmer weather. Many Merino experts believe that the inherent health of the soil and plants upon which Marino’s graze directly affects the health and productivity of the sheep. They suggest starting off with active biological soils and plant life before allowing your sheep to graze on a pasture. It is also recommended you provide your sheep with at least 20 ideally 30 different species of gradable forage. This can include fescue, cocksfoot, Lucerne, clovers, oats and vetch. Because of the amount of crossing that has been done to create a breed with fast-growing fine wool, Merino sheep need to be shared often. If the wall is left to grow for too long, the wall can become matted, the animals can overheat and even be blinded if it covers their eyes. So make sure you are able to give your sheep a good sharing at least once a year at the minimum. We hope you learned something new about the Merino sheep and found the information helpful. Remember to share your thoughts in the comments.