German Mutton Merino

Also Known By: Merinofleischschaf (German), German Merino, German Precoce, Merino Meat, Merino Mutton

There are three German Merino breeds: Merinolandschaf (Merino landsheep), Merinofleischschaf (Merino mutton sheep), and Merinolangwollschaf ( Merino longwool sheep).

Although all three breeds produce Merino wool and are similar in meat yield, they went through a different historical and genealogical development. About 40% of the German sheep are of the Merinolandschaf breed. The Merinolangwollschaf was developed around 1977 in the former East Germany, to produce long cross-bred wool with a fiber diameter of 30-34 microns.

The Merinofleischschaf is at home east of the Elbe river, spreading all the way to the Ural Mountains.  It is suited for intense production in arid, or in agricultural areas. It is highly resistant, and easily adapts to any climate and keeping conditions.  It grows easily with good meat yield.  Non- seasonal breeding cycle (3 breedings in 2 years), high fecundity, and good mothering instincts make the Merinofleischschaf a good choice for intense milk-lamb production.

Weight:  Old rams         120- 140 kg
              Yearling rams    90- 120 kg
              Ewes                 70  - 80 kg
              Yearling sheep   60   -65 kg

The wool staple is tighter and more closed than on the Merinolandschaf.  The fine white wool is of Merino character, with an evenly distributed fiber diameter of 24-30 microns. Rams produce 7- 10 kg of wool; the fleece of a ewe weighs 4- 5 kg.

The medium-sized frame is broad and deep with well developed meat shapes.  Head is medium broad with the typical wool tuft on top.  Ears are sturdy and stand out to the side.  Body and chest are deep and broad, with a long and muscular back.  A long and broad pelvis and deep, full thighs are typical for this breed.

Reference:

Mason, I.L. 1996. A World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds, Types and Varieties. Fourth Edition. C.A.B International. 273 pp.

Schafzucht, Fritz Haring,  Eugen Ulmer Verlag

Photographs:
Roger A. High, State Sheep Extension Specialist, Ohio State University
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Updated December 10, 1998