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Merino breed information

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The ancient ancestors of the famous fine-wool sheep breed Merino lived in Asia. The first began to domesticate and use their wool Spaniards. For a long time they tried to keep strictly the secret of the “Golden Fleece”, and until the 18th century they succeeded. But once the British accidentally took several sheep on a ship, and so began their journey around the world.

Later, other Mediterranean countries, and then America, Australia and New Zealand, became the habitat of the merino. Today, the largest livestock of this breed of sheep is grown in Australia. This country is the main supplier of wool of this animal in the world.

Merino sheep appearance

This animal sometimes looks very unusual and funny, a little resembling a familiar sheep. The whole body of merino is covered with thick and long hair with pleats. Sometimes it is even difficult to see the face of a sheep. Snow-white wool with age becomes even longer (up to 9 cm). In appearance, merino can be divided into 3 main categories: Fain, medium and strong. The former do not have the usual folds on the body, but they have excellent wool, the latter are larger with 2-3 folds, but the quality of their fleece is worse, and still others are the most massive sheep of the breed.

Keeping and breeding merino sheep

Today, merinos are grown on almost every continent. Animals are unpretentious to feed, easy to care for and easy to breed. Sheep are able to gnaw grass in the area where horses and cows grazed before them.

They have good stamina: can do for a long time without water during long runs. Animals easily adapt to climate change. But not all areas are suitable for growing: the sheep do not tolerate the warm and very humid climate of the tropics. This gregarious animal is very fearful, afraid of sharp loud sounds, darkness and confined space. Breeding merino sheep is a very profitable business.

Maintenance and care

Sheep are usually kept in herds. Males are heavier than females and produce more wool. In warm times, the animals feed on fresh grass when grazing. In the cold season, food for them is hay, oats, barley, bran, mixed fodder and vegetables. It is advisable to add in the diet vitamin-mineral complexes.

Under farm conditions, merino live for about 6–7 years; in the mountains of Australia, their life expectancy sometimes reaches 14 years. The meat productivity of the breed is insignificant; therefore, they are often grown only because of high-quality fleece. Shear animals once a year, in the spring. What other features of animal care it is useful to know for those who decided to grow merino?

A dry and warm room about 2 meters high is suitable as a sheep shed. One animal needs at least 1.5-2 square meters. m square. In the summer it should not be stuffy and cool. The optimum temperature content is 5 degrees Celsius, for teplyak - 12 degrees. The room should be ventilated, but without drafts and have a vestibule.

Close to the shed, you need to arrange a pen, twice the size. For drinking bowls and feeders fit rectangular troughs. It should be borne in mind that the sheep drink 5-10 liters of water per day.

Breeding

In the barn, sheep and sheep live separately. In order to improve the breed, artificial insemination is often used. For mating, optimally selected animals are selected for the purpose of obtaining healthy and productive offspring. Females begin to give birth to cubs after they turn 1.5 years old. Childbirth usually proceeds easily. On average, there are 2-3 lambs in the litter, which after 30 minutes can move independently.

The most famous breeds of merino

One of the very first merino is bred by the French breed Rambouillet. The animal has a strong build and gives up to 5 kg of high quality long wool. World value has australian merinoobtained by mixing french and american breed.

European varieties such as electoral, infantado, negretti later did not become widespread due to poor viability and low wool productivity. (1-4 kg per year).

Sheeps Mazaevskaya breed were bred by Russian breeders and became widespread in the North Caucasus. They give a very large amount (6–15 kg) of fine-wool wool per year. However, the survival rate of this species has deteriorated due to the wrong approach to breeding.

Novokavkazskaya breed - the result of mazaevskoy sheep and ramboulee crossing. It is quite common in Western Europe. Animals are strong, give 6 - 9kg rune per year.

Soviet merino have arisen due to the mixing of the Rambouillet and the New Caucasian breed. This type stands out very powerful, with a proportionally developed physique. The horns are small, sharp and curved. On the neck there is a crease. The average weight is 100-125 kg, it is the most maximal among merino. This species is bred in many regions of Russia for the production of wool and meat.

Russia is also famous Romanov breedIt is represented by meat and dairy types of sheep, which give a good amount of wool.

Useful properties and value of merino wool

In the Middle Ages, only very distinguished people could wear clothes from expensive merino yarn. What is the value of this material? The uniqueness of merino sheep wool in an unusually thin fiber (5 times thinner than a human hair). It has many valuable qualities due to which it has become widely used in the world.

Advantages of merino wool (yarn):

  • retains heat well
  • protects against moisture
  • does not absorb the smell of sweat
  • has a healing effect
  • wear resistant
  • lightweight
  • soft
  • elastic,
  • durable
  • warm to the touch
  • has a calming effect
  • well breathable
  • has a wide range of colors,
  • eco-friendly.

Merino yarn is suitable for knitting openwork and voluminous products. In the clothes of it is not cold in the cold, and not hot in the summer. Despite its high cost and many competing modern materials, it has been and remains popular with buyers from around the world.

Spanish period

The most developed merino sheep breeding was in Spain, where painstaking selection work aimed at improving the quality of the fleece was carried out for many centuries. Already in the XII-XVI centuries, the Spaniards, thanks to the excellent quality of the wool of the sheep bred by them, became monopolists in this industry, and almost until the XVIII century the export of merino was prohibited in the country, disobedience was punishable by death.

With the termination of the Spanish monopoly, Merino sheep breeding began to develop in other Western European countries, and especially successfully in Germany and France. These states very quickly bypassed Spain and literally drove it out of the market. Today, fine-wool production in this country is a backward and low-value industry. From Germany and France, the Merino "diverged" around the world and marked the beginning of a large number of local Merino breeds.

Merino wool properties

The main characteristic of the merino of any breed is a magnificent uniform wool, which consists of the same soft, thin and crimped fibers. Merino wool with a length of 60-70 mm have a thickness of not more than 25 microns. The color of merino wool is white, contains grease, which gives it a light yellow tint. The outer surface of the merino fleece due to dirt and dust has an earthy hue. If we consider these sheep by weight, then they belong to large or medium animals. Record for animal weight were the Soviet breed of fine-woolly merino. They were distinguished from other sheep by large folds of skin in the neck and sometimes on the body. Merino sheep are spiral horns.

Electoral

The breed electoral was first bred by Spanish breeders. Then these sheep spread to Germany. The breed was famous for its special thin wool (now such fineness is not found among merino trees). However, the length of the wool fibers was short, up to 40 mm, and the annual shearing per animal was only 1 kg. As for live weight, it was insignificant in electoral sheep (up to 25 kg), and the animals themselves were pampered, overdeveloped and little viable.

To increase the cutting of wool, German breeders developed a new breed of merino sheep, called Negretti and distinguished by a large fold of skin. Now with each sheep 3-4 kg of wool was cut, but in terms of productivity, both meat and wool, the Negretti breed could not meet the demands put forward to fine-fleeced animals.

In pre-revolutionary Russian sheep breeding, the infantado breed was bred out of the Negretti. Such sheep gave up to 5 kg of wool, the weight of rams was 58-64 kg, and the queens slightly less - 50-56 kg. Nevertheless, to obtain high-quality smooth woolen materials from infantado, the length of woolen fibers was insufficient. Therefore, the Russian sheep farmers bred a new breed - Mazaevskaya, which quickly spread in the North Caucasus, in its steppe regions.

Mazaevskaya breed

With Mazaevsky record-ram shears, they cut up to 15 kg of wool per year, and from queens - up to 6 kg. Wool fibers had a good length that met the requirements of the then wool-processing industry. But because of the one-sided selection of wool products, the Mazaev merinoses were overdeveloped, with a weakened constitution. This was the cause of a sharp decline in the viability of animals and their poor reproducibility. And therefore, even despite the high nastrigi, this breed gave way to other merino. Thus, in the Russian sheep breeding of the nineteenth century, the new Caucasian sheep appeared.

Novokavkaztsy

Professor P. N. Kuleshov, the largest livestock scientist, was able to prove the need to abandon the further breeding of the Mazaev merinoes. He advocated their crossing with Baldebuk sheep, belonging to the fine-fleeced ramboulee, common in Western Europe. And this idea gave positive results: the constitutional strength was increased, the health and reproductive ability of animals was improved. Merino, obtained by crossing German baldebukovskih sheep and Mazaevsky sheep, called the New Caucasus.

Externally, the New Caucasian sheep differed from Mazaev's fellows. They were larger, had a good build, strong bones, less folding of the skin, but their wool was shorter and less fat-bearing. The Novokavkaztsy merinoses were more viable and healthy and gave the same strong offspring. The weight of adult sheep could reach up to 65 kg, the annual sheared wool — 9 kg, the weight of the queens — up to 45 kg, and the hair — up to 6 kg.

Although the Novokavkaztsy wool was slightly inferior to Mazaevskoy in terms of fat content and length of fibers, it nevertheless belonged to a good view of the worsted direction and, with a length of 70 mm, had a fineness of 64 qualities. The Novokavkaz merinoes were inferior to their predecessors only in terms of the volume of unwashed wool, but in the output of pure wool they were significantly superior to the Mazaevo merinos. Already at the beginning of the twentieth century, fine-wool sheep breeding in Russia consisted mainly of herds of the Novokavkaz merino.

Despite these successes, Russian sheep breeding still lagged behind Western countries. At that time, they mostly bred a breed of merino ramboulet, which was bred by French breeders. These were rather large animals with a remarkable strong build and a good constitution, which gave up to 5 kg of excellent long wool per year.

In the USSR, in order to raise the level of fine-wool sheep breeding, it was decided to improve the new Caucasian breed of sheep by crossing them with French merino ramboulet. Thus a productive breed appeared - the Soviet merino.

Soviet merino

Refers to the valuable wool fine-wool breed. Today this breed is bred in the Urals, the Volga region, in Siberia, and central regions. Soviet merino are characterized by a proportional physique, strong constitution, strong bones, as well as the correct setting of limbs. The animals have developed burda and on the neck one developed skin fold. Sheep with a narrow back, sagging back and ikoobrazny shape of the legs are rare in the herd. The weight of queens is 48-57 kg, rams - 96-122 kg.

Meat productivity is satisfactory. The wool of the Soviet merino is white, the wool fibers are equal. In females, the wool length index can reach up to 80 mm, in rams - up to 90 mm. Grease color is light cream and white. As for the size of the nastriga, the ram can give 10-12 kg of wool per year, and the uterus - 6-7 kg, 45-50% of which is pure fiber. The fecundity of lambs is high: 100 individuals give birth to 130 lambs, and sometimes 140. Breeding rams of this breed were used for crossing with fine-woolen-coarse queens, as a result such wonderful breeds of merino as Grozny, Salsk, Askanian, Altai and Caucasian appeared .

Askanian breed

Recognized as the best fine-wool breed in the world. Bred in 1923-1934. scientist M. F. Ivanov in the town of Askania-Nova, located in Ukraine. It was there that the painstaking work on the crossing of local merino with fine-fleeced rambulae was going on.

Askanian sheep are distinguished by their high growth, strong constitution, oblong broad body, and well-developed muscles. Limbs of animals have the right set. The rams have developed strong horns, and the lambs are horny. The wool of Ascanian breed animals is convoluted, white, well-balanced.

The fleece itself is different staple structure, moderate density. Grease white or creamy. As for the length of the wool fibers, it is on average 90 mm for sheep, and 100 mm for sheep. From uterus a year, wool is trimmed to 7 kg, and sheep yield up to 15 kg, 43% with this being pure fiber. Fertility of this breed is high, 150%, that is, 100 queens bring 150 lambs. Adult sheep weighs up to 65 kg. The mass of sheep is up to 120 kg.

Today, breeders continue to work with Askanian breed, they are aimed at increasing the grease and improving the quality characteristics of wool.

Caucasian breed

This breed was created in the Stavropol region (1924-1936) under the leadership of K. D. Filyansky. Initially, it was called the Caucasian ramboule, since Ascanian sheep, the American and New Caucasian merino ramulles participated in its formation. In 1994, the Caucasian breed recognized the southern-steppe type of sheep, which are distinguished by the highest quality of wool and low feed intake per kilogram of weight gain. The breeding area of ​​this breed in the country is Rostov region, Stavropol region, Middle and Lower Volga region.

Sheep Caucasian breed inherent strong constitution, proportional physique, developed muscles. On the neck they have one or three skin folds and many small ones in the body, but sometimes they are absent. The body of animals is oblong, rounded, limbs with the correct position. Rams have an average weight of 115 kg. The same indicator in sheep is 66 kg, although the mass of some individuals can reach up to 110 kg.

The sheep's coat is white, leveled and well crimped. The length of its fibers in queens is 80 mm, and in rams it is 100 mm. Grease cream, rarely white. Wool fineness usually 58-64 quality. In a year, sheep are sheared to 9.5 kg of wool, about 4 kg from sheep-uterus, while pure wool accounts for 55-57%. The fertility of the Caucasian breed is quite high, on average, 100 lambs bring 140 lambs, but in some herds sometimes up to 150 and above.

Grozny breed

Established in 1951 at the plant in Dagestan. Biobasic to create steel uterus Novokavkazskogo and Mazaevskogo merino. They were crossed with Australian merinoses. Today there are two factory species of this breed: Kalmyk and Nogai.

In appearance, the animals are close to the Australian Merino. They have a dense compact body, strong and light bones. On the neck one or two transverse skin folds or one longitudinal, also small folds are present on the whole body. By weight, the sheep of Grozny are ranked as middle animals: rams have a live weight of 70-90 kg, in sheep-females 47-55 kg. This breed is late-ripening, the growth of sheep stops only by three years, but the queens are characterized by high fecundity (140%).

The main advantage of Grozny sheep is of excellent quality, thick and well-crimped white wool, 80-100 mm long with a quality of 64-70 fineness. Fleece has a staple structure, well closed. Grease white, rarely light cream, its content in wool - about 19%. The annual pruned - 17 kg from mature sheep, sheep-uterus give up to 7 kg, while 40-50% is pure wool. In terms of quantity (kg) and quality of the wool that is trimmed from one animal, the breed takes one of the first places.

Today, the sheep of Grozny are bred mainly in the Stavropol region, Dagestan and Kalmykia.

Altai breed

They bred this highly productive fine-wool breed of wool in 1948 in Altai. Its creation took 20 years of painstaking selection work. Local biomass merino, American ramboule and coarse womb were taken as biomaterial. Then the resulting hybrids improved by Australian and Caucasian Caucasian merino sheep.

Altai sheep strong constitution. Their torso is elongated, the line of the back is even. Грудь широкая, крестец чуть обвислый, костяк развитый. Кожный запас выражен шейными складками и мелкими морщинками на теле. Ярки этой породы плодовиты, на сотню маток приходится 150-165 ягнят. Масса четырехмесячных ярок более 27 кг. Взрослые же матки тянут до 70 кг, а зрелые бараны без труда достигают 130 кг.

Шерсть у алтайских овец плотная, мелко извитая, белая, по руну уравненная. Жиропот кремовый или же белый. The length of the hairs is 70-100 mm, and the fineness is 58-64 quality. The sheep breeders cut wool from the queens to 7 kg, while the sheared hair from the sheep reaches 12-14 kg.

Today, the Altai breed is bred in the Chelyabinsk region, Bashkortostan and, of course, in Altai. Breeding with the breed continues, aimed at increasing the stability of the grease and the best equalization of wool.

Salsk breed

Basically Salsk sheep bred in the Rostov region. They were also brought there in 1930-1950. by crossing the ramboulean individuals with local merino. As a result, a mixture was obtained, similar in exterior and productivity to the Soviet merino. Salsk sheep are large, with an elongated body, broad chest and a flat dorsal line. The stock of the skin in animals is expressed by one or two transverse folds on the neck or by a developed burda.

Wool productivity of the Sala breed is acceptable. The fleece obtained from the queens weighs 7-8 kg, while the sheep give twice as much - 15-17 kg. The color of the wool is white, well curled, in a staple uniform throughout the rune.

The length of the fibers in rams is 85-90 mm, in mothers about 85 mm. Indicator fineness 60-64 quality. The yield of wool is pure 42%. The mass of mature sheep is 90-110 kg, full-aged mothers - 50-55 kg. The fecundity of sheep ranges from 110 to 130 lambs per hundred queens.

Kazakh arharomerinos

The breed was created in 1934-1950. at the Kurmektinskaya base of the Academy of Sciences, located in the highland part of Kazakhstan. It remains the only breed in the world bred by crossing domestic sheep-queens with wild sheep, which is a great achievement of zootechnical and biological Soviet science.

Arharomerinos are characterized by a strong constitution, strong limbs, good mobility, precociousness, and a special exterior. In animals, the chest is raised, and the legs are tucked up, which makes them easy to move along the steep mountain slopes. The arkharomerinos are without plots; their fleece is weakly expressed by fleece. The mass of full-aged queens 60-65 kg, mature sheep pull 90-100 kg. The fleece obtained annually from arharomerinos (queens) weighs 3.5-4 kg. The yield of fine wool washed - 50%. The length of wool is 70-80 mm, fineness - 64 quality.

Australian merino

Fine-fleeced sheep raised in Australia. Derived from the merino, which were imported from European countries in the XIX century. The peculiarity of these sheep is high wool productivity with a compact size of animals. The sheep breeders cut wool from queens to 5 kg, and from merino sheep, she has cut 9-11 kg. The color of the wool is white, silky, thick, the length of the fibers is 65-90 mm. Grease resistant to external influences, so that the output of washed wool is high (55%). Adult mothers weigh 35–40 kg, while in mature sheep the body weight may reach 50–70 kg. The Australian merinoes, imported into the USSR in 1929, were used to breed more productive wool sheep of the Grozny breed and to add blood when creating the Altai breed.

History of origin

Merino sheep is a descendant of Spanish sheep and sheep brought from Asia Minor and North Africa. In the 12th century AD, Spanish sheep breeders carried out breeding work by crossing these animals. As a result, the breed was obtained, differing in unsurpassed quality nastriga. Up until the 16th century, Spain was the leading country in the production of wool, and Merino sheep were located on its territory due to the ban on the export of animals. Those who dared to violate this decree were executed.

Only at the beginning of the 18th century was the ban lifted. After that, the merino gradually spread throughout Europe and other continents. First, they were taken to Sweden, a little later - in Saxony, and by the end of the 18th century, the animals were sent to Australia. Over time, rams from Spain, famous for the excellent quality of wool, were crossed with other breeds in order to obtain new varieties. This is how the Australian, Soviet and other merino sheep appeared.

Wool value

Merino wool is highly valued due to its characteristics:

  1. Its fibers are several times thinner than those of other breeds. Their thickness varies in the range of 15-40 microns.
  2. Even a fleece that has not been processed is soft and tender.
  3. From one kilogram of merino wool it turns out to make three times more fabric than from the same number of nastrig of other breeds of sheep.
  4. Merino sheep wool fibers are capable of excellent thermal insulation properties. Interestingly, in clothes made from the fleece of these animals, it is neither hot nor cold.
  5. Merino wool is hygroscopic, it quickly absorbs moisture.
  6. Fleece contains a substance with antibacterial properties, lanolin.
  7. Wool is easy to dye in any color.

Wool is easy to dye in any color.

Attention! How thin the merino wool fibers are can be understood by an example - the density of hair per 1 mm of the skin of these animals reaches 89, while other sheep have only 7-29 hairs on the same area of ​​skin.

Merino breeds

When Merino sheep spread throughout the world, breeders from different countries began to work to improve their meat and other characteristics. Since then, several dozens of new breeds have been bred. These include:

  • Soviet merino
  • Australian Merino,
  • askanian
  • breed electoral,
  • Negretti breed.

Australian Merino

The history of the Australian merino began in the late 18th century, when 70 animals from Spain were brought to the continent. Local sheep farmers immediately evaluated the characteristics of the wool of the arrived specimens and proceeded to selection work. Spanish sheep crossed with local selected sheep, so that Australian merino was obtained. There are several varieties of these sheep. They differ in the thickness of the rune, constitution and other characteristics. Consider them:

  1. Fayn. A distinctive feature of faynov is the small size of the body and the thinnest fleece. The thickness of the hairs ranges from 15-20 microns. The average weight of sheep is 70 kg, and ewes - 40 kg.
  2. Medium. This category includes sheep having a wool thickness of up to 25 microns. Sheep medium larger. The weight of males reaches 85 kg, and the queens - 50. The strong constitution of the body allows the use of these animals and for meat.
  3. Strong Strong Merinoses are the largest animals, but their fleece is slightly inferior in quality to the wool of the two previous varieties. The thickness of the hair exceeds 25 microns. The average annual mowing received by farmers is 8-10 kg.

Australian merino - unpretentious and hardy. They easily adapt to different climatic conditions, for which they are valued throughout the world.

Attention! In Australia, 4 out of 5 Merino sheep is the most common breed on the continent.

Askanian Sheep

From the name of the breed it becomes clear exactly where Askanian lambs appeared - on the territory of the Ukrainian reserve Askania-Nova. The selection work was then supervised by academician Ivanov. His goal was to improve the characteristics of local merino, which during the war lost some of their characteristics. For crossbreeding were used representatives of breeds ramboule and prekos.

Askanian breed of sheep

  • strong build,
  • average weight of queens - 58-65 kg, rams - 120 kg,
  • males have horns, lambs don't,
  • on the neck there is a skin fold,
  • white wool of medium thickness
  • increased abdomen, head and limbs,
  • the length of woolen fibers in sheep reaches 10 cm, in sheep - 6-8 cm,
  • fertility of females - 125%,
  • the average annual hair cut in females is 7 kg, and in rams it is 14.

Ascanian merino is used to improve the characteristics of other sheep, but because they are often found in breeding farms in Russia. The most widespread in Ukraine - in the Kherson, Zaporizhia and Nikolaev regions.

Description of appearance and characteristics with photos

Compared to other merino soviet, has a more powerful physique. The weight of the ram is about 125 kilograms, the sheep - about 100 kilograms. These are the best indicators among all breeds of this species. From the side, the Soviet merino sheep resembles a keg with well developed horns on correctly set legs. Uterus of the Soviet merino komoly.

The following breeds of sheep are suitable for breeding sheep at home:

The fineness weighs about 12 kilograms, its quality is from 64 to 70. Record indicators have been recorded for cutting pure wool, they are 26-28 kilograms. Uterus give about 6-7 kilograms of high-quality wool.

Why merino sheep wool is so valuable

Combed (worsted) merino wool is a quality raw material. Merino is called fine-woold sheep, because the thickness of the hairs in their wool is several times thinner than even human hair. This wool is soft, warm and comfortable.

It has a lot of advantages:

  • Feeling warm when touched.
  • Softness and tenderness to the touch.
  • Increased hygroscopicity.

Attention! After shearing, sheep should not be released under direct sunlight for 2 weeks.

A kilogram of merino wool can be made up to three times more fabric than from wool from a representative of the meat industry. Clothes made of fabric made of merino wool are warm, breathable, hygroscopic, comfortable for tactile sensations.

Merino wool is considered the best for the production of textiles.

Famous Merino Breeds

Merino is a variety of animals whose purpose of breeding is to obtain high-quality wool, so the number of its nastrig is the main characteristic of the varieties of these breeds of sheep. Currently, there are several dozen merino breeds in the world, the most popular of which are the following:

  • Rambouillet Breed from France with thick and thin hair, adapted to living in different climatic conditions.
  • Mazaevskaya. Breed of domestic breeder, who gave her the name of his last name. Mazaevskie sheep most adapted to the harsh climate of Russia, have a thick, thin fleece.
  • Novokavkazskaya. Obtained by crossing Mazaevsky sheep with breed Rambul. The breed has a short coat with increased softness.
  • Australian. It has increased wool productivity. Wool of Australian merino has a high hygroscopicity. Wear resistance, hypoallergenic, antibacterial properties.
With a lost Australian merino, 40 kg of wool was cut.
  • Electoral Spanish breed with particularly fine and short hair. Spanish merino tender and poorly tolerate temperature extremes.
  • Negretti. This breed has increased the amount of wool due to the large number of folds on the skin. But the quality of wool, compared with other breeds, is worse.
  • Fayn. One of the subspecies of the Australian breed, able to live in a cold and humid climate. The coat is less thick, but the quality and density of the fleece is higher than in other varieties.
  • Askanian. This merino is recognized as the best in the world. The breed was bred in Ascania-Nova in the 20-30s of the last century on the basis of Ukrainian merino. Cutting wool from the breed is 10-11 kilograms. Askanian merino is the largest of all currently existing breeds of this direction. The weight of an adult ram is 150-160 kilograms.

Features care and maintenance

Pasture content is recommended for the Soviet merino. Walking under the rays of the sun and fresh air - the best prevention of the appearance in the wool of insect parasites. The main measures for the care of sheep of this breed: washing and cutting hair, trimming the hooves.

The haircut is done with a machine or scissors, treating wounds with an antiseptic spray after that.

The bathing process is organized three weeks after shearing. Otaru is driven through a reservoir, the depth of which should be such that the sheep dive into it not above the neck. It is important that the descent into the reservoir and the exit from it should be gentle, otherwise animals can get injured legs. In the absence of a suitable reservoir, you can organize bathing from the aqueduct, using a conventional garden hose. It is only important to ensure that the water pressure directed at the animal is not too strong.

Attention! Merino haircut is a must-have event and it is held in the spring. Spring litter of young stock can be cut at the age of one year. If lambs were born in winter, the first haircut is put off until the end of summer.

Before the haircut procedure, animals are trained. They can not be fed the day before the process. Merino wool must be completely dry during the haircut, otherwise there is a risk of damaging the skin of animals. Wool is trimmed with one fleece. After the procedure, the skin is treated with an antiseptic solution.

For trimming hoofs it is convenient to use special tools.

The weak point of the merino sheep breeds is the hoof, so they need to be carefully looked after. In 30 days, the hooves of the Soviet merino grow back 4-5 centimeters and begin to wrap under the skin. Too big shoots get dirt, grass, and this can cause inflammatory processes. Therefore, regular trimming of the hooves of the merino is necessary.

For pruning, a special pruner or knife is used. The animal is laid on the ground and gives the hoof the correct shape. After the procedure, a foot bath is recommended with the addition of a 5% solution of copper sulfate and a 15% solution of salt.

In the cold season to keep sheep in the pen-stable. The shelter for sheep must be warm, dry, well ventilated, without drafts.

Important! In rainy weather, it is not recommended to let the merino out of the stall, since a moist environment can spoil the wool and will promote the reproduction of ectoparasites in it.

Diet

In the choice of food, the Soviet merino is not picky, and their diet is formed depending on the time of year. In spring and summer, pasture grass forms the basis of their food. Fresh greens - a source of vitamins and minerals for these animals, the basis of the quality of their wool

In the fall, sheep are fed quality hay. In the winter, sheep are given oats, legumes, barley, bran and root vegetables (beetroot, radish, carrots, turnips). You can not give the merino not steamed straw.

Breed origin

The lineage of the "golden" sheep originates in Asia Minor. Evidence has survived that over several millennia BC people made clothes from this magnificent wool.

Images of Merino are often found on the monuments of ancient civilizations

In the Middle Ages, merino sheep moved to European countries, having firmly established itself in Spain. In addition to the Spanish "main office", there were "branches" in Greece and Italy, but it was Iberia that became the cradle of modern merino. It is not surprising that earlier this breed was called "Spanish." In those days, preference was given to varieties that could be bred under nomadic lifestyles: merino, translated from Castilian, means “wandering”.

In the Middle Ages, the "nomadic" Merino were valued.

Until the XVI century. Spain was a monopolist in the field of wool business: the transportation of representatives of this breed to other countries was prohibited and punishable by death. Ice, which lay between the country of olives and the rest of the world, began to melt only in the XVIII century. At first, these cute sheep began to be exported to Western European countries as gifts: Sweden, Saxony and Australia were the first happy owners of animals with the most delicate yarn. Gradually began active sales of merino worldwide. Despite the fact that the green continent at that time was opened only a century ago, in 1788, 70 sheep were sent to the country by kangaroos and koalas by ship. Subsequently, Australia will become the world leader in the breeding of merino.

After the removal of the export ban, merino sheep breeding flourished in Germany and France. These countries quickly overtook Spain in terms of merino wool sales. Since then, she has never been able to become competitive either to Western European countries or to Australia.

Monument to the representative of the breed Merino in Australia

The main producer of merino wool is Australia: 70,000 farms successfully breed fluffy sheep. Geographical neighbor - New Zealand is also involved in this process and now merino breeding is not the last in the economy of this country. Sheep intertwined so harmoniously with the beautiful pattern of Australians' everyday life that savvy people even invented a new kind of sports competition: cutting merino hair for a while. Masters of their craft are able, with their eyes closed, to completely remove the wool from the sheep within 1 minute!

Fleece famous sheep Shrek

Merino wool clothing

In the dark era of the Middle Ages, the wool of this breed was valued so highly that only members of the royal family could wear clothes based on it. In our time, prohibitions on its widespread use do not exist. On the contrary, furry sheep are loved and appreciated: in Kazakhstan, for example, even stamps with their cute images were released.

Attractive merino yarn characteristics:

  • not soaked with the characteristic smell of perspiration,
  • does not require constant washing, unlike products from synthetic fabrics,
  • thanks to the thin hairs it retains heat perfectly,
  • good hygroscopicity
  • Yarn does not irritate the skin.

Кроме того, с 1 кг шерсти этих пушистых овечек можно получить в 3 раза большее количество ткани, чем с шерсти обычной козы.

Шерсть мериноса является идеальной основой для изготовления костюмов

Шерсть великолепно отводит влагу, помогая животному согреться, если оно намокло. Эти характеристики влагоустойчивости активно используются при создании одежды спортивного направления. Soft, airy, warm, extraordinary beauty wool has no equal in the world of natural materials. It is extremely in demand for the manufacture of pillows and blankets.

During increased physical exertion, merino skin remains dry: it helps prevent cooling

Due to the fact that merino yarn does not interfere with heat transfer, clothing based on it is suitable for any kind of activity. In addition, it is 3 times softer than silk and 5 times more elastic than cotton. Like most types of yarn, it has an antibacterial effect.

Productivity and breed characteristics

Sheep and sheep of this breed do not reach the size of meat breeds in size. Despite the fact that merino is bred for the sake of obtaining high-quality wool, there are also varieties of meat direction: South African, German and American.

In terms of live weight, fluffy sheep are inferior to meat breeds.

Long breeding divided all merino into 3 categories:

    fayne: animals without characteristic folds on the body, with impeccable wool "dossier"

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