Merino sheep is one of the most renowned breeds of fine wool domestic sheep. The breed originated in Spain and was later imported to Australia and New Zealand where it was domesticated for the first time. Since the 12th century, this highly-prized breed had been popular due to its high-quality wool.
These animals are adaptive to climate and pasture changes and can reside almost anywhere. They are known for their finest and extensive wool growth, but can also be used for meat production.
Merino Sheep Characteristics
Merinos have white faces and legs and vary in sizes and the number of skin folds. They are humble and beautiful animals that can be polled or horned. The horned Merinos have long and spiral horns, while the polled have small stubs sticking out of their heads. They don’t have any teeth in the front part of their upper jaw and can see everything behind them without turning their heads because of their rectangular-shaped eyes.
Most Merinos are smooth with numerous skin folds and that what makes them produce way more wool than other breeds.
Merino breed is favored for its extremely soft wool that doesn’t irritate the skin when used in clothing or blankets. The breathable and soft wool produced by these animals contains a chemical called lanolin that possesses anti-bacterial and water-repellant properties.
These properties protect the sheep from infection and make Merino wool suitable for thermal wool underwear production. Merino wool fibers have a porous structure because of numerous air pockets that can be found in the mesh of the fibers.
The Merino wool fibers are smaller and more durable than wool fibers of other sheep breeds.
These animals’ wool never stops growing and that what makes Merinos desired and wanted by wool production businesses. Their wool can be used on their own for clothing but also can be blended with other materials to create unique and soft fabrics.
Importance and Usage
This extraordinary breed has existed for thousands of years and was used to create new breeds of sheep all around the world. Their name is well-known among the textile industries because of their best quality wool and fast wool growth. These animals have to be sheared at least once a year or there might be problems with the overall health of the sheep such as eyesight and mobility issues.
Apart from wool production, Merinos can be used for meat markets. The demand for Merino meat has grown drastically over the past few years due to better taste qualities. Their meat also contains a moderate amount of fat in the desired areas and is very nutritious. This meat is easy to prepare and can be used in many popular dishes.
Milk production is another benefit of breeding these animals. Merino milk is commonly used to make various types of cheeses and has its own unique taste that differs from that of cow’s or goat’s milk.If you are interested in different breed of sheep just contact Seradria, a leading company that specializes in the sale and export of livestock.