The Delaine-Merino sheep breed has been bred for over 1,000 years, earning an international reputation for its prize-winning wool production. The Delaine-Merino has a medium sized body and are commonly found in flocks where farmers have a desire to harvest their valuable wool.
While there are a few varieties of Merino sheep found in the U.S. (including the Booroola Merino), but the Delaine-Merino is the most practical due to their high adaptability.
Delaine-Merino sheep can thrive in a variety of climates and conditions, but they are most commonly found in the southwestern and western areas of the United States where open ranges provide a variety of forage.
The body of a Delaine-Merino tend to be wrinkle-free (unlike other Merinos), but they have thick and heavy folds in the neck area as well as on the thighs, rear flanks and behind the shoulders. These folds of skin are desirable because they increase the total surface area of the Merino’s skin – allowing them to produce more wool.
The Delaine-Merino is able to breed throughout the year – another desirable quality for shepherds who value ongoing flock growth and high-production. Though Merino lambs typically grow slower than other breeds (the result of a high percentage of the nutrients they consume being dedicated to wool production rather than growth), the breed has impressive instincts for flocking and the fact that they can have more lambs per year compensates for the Delaine-Merino’s relative slow growth rate.
Delaine-Merino Breed Information
|MATURE BODY WEIGHT||Ram: 190-240 lbs.|
Ewe: 125-160 lbs.
|AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER||Micron: 22-17|
USDA Wool Grade: 64s-80s
|GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT||Ewe: 9-14 lbs.|
|STAPLE LENGTH||2 1/2 – 4″|
Learn more about this breed by visiting the American & Delaine Merino Record Association website.