The male Merino sheep originated in Spain at the end of the Middle Ages, and for centuries it has been located exclusively in Spain, since in those times exports were not allowed and were even punishable by death.
This breed is the only sheep breed that has been producing wool since ancient times, and, in addition, they produce a large quantity of very fine and soft wool. Already at the beginning of the 19th century, the Merino sheep breed spread throughout the rest of the world.
At present, the Merino sheep is probably the most widespread sheep breed in the world. In Spain, the main Merino sheep (ovis) breed is found in the autonomous communities of Extremadura, Andalusia, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla Leon and Aragon.
Physical characteristics of the male Merino sheep
The male sheep, also called ram, is characterized by long, curved horns, usually backward, long, hard fur, split hooves, narrow beard on the lower jaw.
On the other hand, the Merino male is characterized by the following description morphological description Short and broad head, with a well-developed skull, broad forehead, wide muzzle and short neck. There are two varieties, white and black, they are usually single-colored, although sometimes the white ones are pigmented blond or brown, in ears, lips or around the eyes, with curly and very fine hair. The horns are strong, mother-of-pearl-colored, spiral-shaped. The male sheep is heavier than the female sheep, and the presence of horns is very rare.
Character and functions of rams
Merino sheep are usually kept in large flocks, they prefer company and when they are alone or isolated they suffer stress, panic or even depression.
They recognize each other by sight or smell. Males identify females in heat through the odor they give off, altering sexual behavior to mate.
Rams behave more aggressively than females, especially during the breeding season, when they encounter each other. The bumping attitude between rams is normal, they fight to mount the female.
Currently, Merino sheep produce very fine and soft wool, very good quality meat, the meat of Merino lambs is considered juicier, tender and not very fatty. The milk production of Merina sheep is generally small, so it is often used for the manufacture of high quality sheep cheese.