In the past five years a flock of Merino sheep has joined the Wellspring Farm and we have been breeding moorit, natural color and white merinos. We have also crossed the merino sire with other breed ewes for offspring with lovely fibers and calm dispositions. The merino can be quite friendly and we are producing fleeces mostly in the 19 to 22 micron range.
The Merino sheep is a medium sheep prized for the quality of its wool. It represents over 50% of all sheep worldwide and is the founding breed for many modern breeds today.
Merinos are docile and easy to manage and they have very strong herd instincts. The ewes make excellent mothers, protective of their lambs and producing good quantities of milk. The rams are very manageable and when not breeding very mild mannered.
The Merino is bred for it's wool and is not as suitable for meat producttion as other breeds. Their wool is very fine and dense and uniform in length. The ewes can be bred throughout the year unlike many breeds that only breed in the fall..
They dislike high heat/humidity and will prefer to stay in the shade of an overhang or in a barn, but otherwise prefer to graze and tolerant higher temps and cold conditions.
It is believed that the origin of Merino sheep starts with sheep being introduced by the Phoenicians fro Asia Minor into Africa. These flocks were then introduce into Spain by the Marinids who were a tribe of Berbers in Spain around the 12th century. It was then Spanish breeders who introduced English breeds to produce the Merino breed in the 13th and 14th centuries.
In the final decades of the 15th century and through the 16th century Spain built a virtual monopoly in fine wool exports. Most of the Merino flocks were owned by the nobility or the church. Before the 18th century the export of Merino sheep from Spain was a crime punishabe by death. The king of Spain in the late 1700s sent merino sheep as gifts to some of the royalty in Europe, inluding Saxony, Hungary, France, Prussia and Holland. From these gifts specific Merino lines were created alongwith being the foundation for new breeds such as the Rambouillet.
The first Merino sheep were introduced to Vermont in 1802.
If you would like more information on Merino sheep that Wellspring Farm is offering for sale please refer to the "Sheep for Sale" page. Also send us an email letting us know what you are interested in and what you are looking for. Sometimes not all available animals are listed.
If you would like to learn more about Merino sheep and would like to get up close, schedule a farm tour or sign up for Sheep 101 class.
We are here to answer your questions.