The Merinizzata Italiana sheep is a breed of domestic sheep from Italy. It is actually from the southern Italy. It is a pretty new modern breed of sheep which was created in the first half of the 20th century, or in recent decades.
The breed was created by cross-breeding of indigenous Gentile di Puglia and Sopravissana stock with imported Merino sheep breeds.
Those sheep breeds include the German Merinolandschaf, Île-de-France and the French Berrichon du Cher.
The main aim of the development was to produce a good breed for producing meat without sacrificing wool quality.
Today the Merinizzata Italiana sheep breed is primarily raised in Abruzzo, mainly in the provinces of L’Aquila and Teramo, with small numbers in neighboring regions.
It is one of the 17 autochthonous Italian breeds of sheep for which a genealogical herdbook is kept. And the herdbook is kept by the Associazione Nazionale della Pastorizia.
The Associazione Nazionale della Pastorizia is the Italian national association of sheep breeders. Total population of this breed were estimated at 600,000 in the year of 2000, of which around 19,000 were registered in the herdbook.
And the numbers were recorded as 27,260 in the herdbook in 2013. Read some more information about this sheep breed below.
Merinizzata Italiana Sheep Characteristics
The Merinizzata Italiana sheep are medium sized animals. They are mainly white in color with white face. The rams are usually horned, while the ewes are naturally polled. Average body height of the mature rams is around 79 cm, and around 69 cm for the ewes.
As a medium sized animal, average live body weight of the mature Merinizzata Italiana rams is around 70 kg. And the mature ewes on average weight around 55 kg. Photo and info from ansi.okstate.edu and Wikipedia.
Merinizzata Italiana sheep are dual-purpose animals. They are raised for both meat and wool production.
The Merinizzata Italiana sheep are usually hardy and strong animals. They are reared and well adapted in the hill pastures of their native area, from the late spring to the early fall and in the fold or in the lowland pasture in the other seasons.
The flocks are generally over 500 head. The Merinizzata Italiana lambs are generally weaned at 6-7 weeks, and they are slaughtered soon after. They weight around 10-15 kg when they are generally slaughtered.
The breed is good for both meat and wool production. Rams usually yield around 4.5 kg of wool, and the ewes on average yield around 2.5 kg.
Wool of the Merinizzata Italiana sheep is of good quality, with a fiber diameter of 18-26 microns. However, review full breed profile of the Merinizzata Italiana sheep in the following chart.
|Breed Name||Merinizzata Italiana|
|Breed Purpose||Meat and wool|
|Special Notes||Very hardy and strong animals, reared and well adapted in the hill pastures of their native area, the flocks are usually over 500 head, lambs are slaughtered at 6-7 weeks, good for both meat and wool production, wool is of good quality|
|Weight||Vary from 55 to 70 kg|
|Horns||Rams are horned, but the ewes are polled|
|Climate Tolerance||Native climates|
|Country/Place of Origin||Italy|