Breeds of Sheep with Facts and Characteristics
Sheep is a quadrupedal, ruminant mammal so, the farmer generally keeps it as livestock. Its scientific name is Ovis aries. There are almost 1000 breeds of sheep in the whole world but some breeds of sheep are the result of mixing two different breeds. Sheep have been helping with agricultural purposes for decades.
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An adult intact male is a ram, a male which gets castrate is wether, an adult female is a ewe and a young sheep is a lamb. In appearance, sheep are stockier as compared to their relative the goat, but its horns are more contrast if present. It has scent glands in the face and rear legs.
The males do not have beards as goats and generally have short tails. Sheep provide meat (lamb, mutton, or hogget), fleeces, and milk. It gives pelts, used as dairy animals and sometimes as model organism’s science, so it is a multi-use animal.
The wild species have the special ability that helps the outer coat take the form of hair and underneath lies a short undercoat of fine wool that has been resulted in the fleece of a domestic sheep.
The sheep have four separate stomach compartments that help in thoroughly digesting the food by recapitulating so they prefer grazing on legume or grass vegetation that is fine and short. Sheep being shy in nature, prefer to graze in flocks.
Usually, the sheep become adults at the age of one, but some breeds of sheep mature at the age of about one and half years. They mostly birth a single lamb and two occasionally. At the age of 4 or 5 months, the lambs stop suckling and begin to graze. The mature sheep meat is mutton and that of an immature animal is lamb.
Different Breed of Sheep
The need for selecting wool types, flocking instincts, and economically important traits have given more than 200 distinct breeds of sheep worldwide. Some of them are:
crossed with Awassi/Daglic ewes this breed originated in Assaf. Found in the Ege region of Turkey they provide for meat, wool, and milk.
The region surrounding Dancalia in northeastern Ethiopia is where this breed of sheep is found. It is blonde in color (white to light brown) and is a meat breed.
Found in Colombia and Venezuela are brown in color ranging from cherry-red- to dark red and tan to brown. The male is maned, and the breed is polled.
Originated in Southwest Pakistan, eastern Iran, and southern Afghanistan, it is a fat-tail breed that can survive in harsh environmental conditions of eastern Iran, one of the arid subtropical areas of the world. They produce fleece with white pigmented heads and legs.
Found in the NWF province of Pakistan and tribal areas of Afghanistan, Balkhi is mutton-type sheep with a fat-tail. They are black, tan, and grey in color.
This fat-tail breed of sheep is a resident of Sibi districts in the Baluchistan Province of Pakistan. it provides meat. Found in white color with black or brown head, it is a medium-sized breed.
It is a sheep that is medium in size and gets its name because the lambs born are red in color. But their fleece turns beige or oatmeal in color at maturity. Because their wool has a silky texture, so is popular among hand spinners and weavers.
Developed by crossing the British long-wool cross back with the Merino Comeback, so they give wool which is bulky with a stable length of more than 110mm.
This breed of sheep is a result of crossing Border Leicester and Romney in New Zealand and because of having so many special features, Coopworth picks on visual criteria of the frame, carcass attributes, wool quality.
Native to West Country Devon, this sheep gives long wool which is classified as Lustre. It is medium in size, short-legs, and is hornless.
Developed from Dorset Horn and Blackhead Persian, Dorper is a South African mutton breed. It is the most fertile breed of sheep and so they are exceptionally talented in adapting, reproduction rates, and hardiness as well as good mothering abilities.
With its wool mainly used for making carpets, Drysdale is a dual-purpose breed, and because of being a variant of Romney, the lambs which do not give wool makes excellent lambs for the local market.
Developed at Elliott Research Station in Tasmania, this sheep provides carpet wool. Elliottdale breeding took place in 1963.
Native to Finland, Finnsheep also has the name Finnish Landrace. Its importing started in 1966 from Canada by the University of Manitoba.
It is a dual-purpose sheep bred by crossing Border Leicester and Corriedale. It was developed from the objective selection for high fertility and growth rate based on visual criteria which are wool quality, frame, and carcass attributes.
Facts About Sheep
- The lamb starts walking just after a minute it is born but it is still dependent on its mother for the first four to six months.
- Sheep can remember a thing for up to two years and can recognize up to 50 sheep faces.
- It is said that sheep prefer a smile to a frown and can identify emotional facial expressions. they communicate through vocalization.
- Sheep is one of the first few farm animals to be domesticated.
- Sheep can view almost 360 degrees because of their large rectangular pupils, having an excellent vision.
- The wool of the sheep grows forever.
- Some of the sheep are gay.
- Sheep can self-medicate.
- They are emotionally complex.
- Teeth are absent in sheep’s upper front jaw.
In this article, we have shared information about the characteristics, breed, and facts of sheep. Sheep is one of the oldest animals to be domesticated by humans and has been a part of human life helping them with different things such as meat, milk, and fleece. We are sure this information will help in better understanding the breeds of sheep as well as their facts and characteristics.