Mouton de Macina
The name ‘mouton de Macina’ comes from the name of the Macina region, the Inner Niger Delta. This sheep breed does not adapt well to areas where the rainfall is less than 600 millimetres. This sheep lives in Mali, on both banks of the Niger River in the Segou area, between the 14th and 17th parallels, corresponding to the river Niger flood zone. According to some sources, it may have originally come from Syria or shared the same origin as other wool breeds in North Africa (particularly Morocco). In 1947 the estimated population amounted to 1 million heads, which grew to 2 million by 1985.The mouton de Macina is a medium sized animal. The profile is slightly snub. The head is short and strong, with a wide and flat forehead. The ears are long, wide and hanging. In males, horns are very big, have a prismatic shape, and are curved to the back. In females, they are smaller or, often, absent. The mouton de Macina has a chest that is narrow and shallow, a sagged back, and flat rear. Their tail is long and thin. The legs are long and lean. The abdomen is not covered by wool. The coat is usually white, often with brown, red and black spots, especially on the head and limbs.This sheep is raised with extensive methods in small flocks. Every evening, flocks are taken to small enclosures, which are fenced by thorny branches. For reproduction, mounting is free and young rams are often castrated and sometimes raised near homes (where they are fed with kitchen leftovers, especially rice and millet). These animals are mainly used for the production of wool and meat, while milk production is limited.Mouton di Macina wool is used to make blankets (called mopti), carpets, tweed and felt. Slaughter yield is not very good, as the meat is lean and the texture is not very firm. When well fed, rams weigh more than 70-80 kg and can be used for sacrifices, especially for the Muslim celebration Eid al-Adha. There is a local market in Mali for mouton de Macina wool products and meat.