Basic Sheep Information
General Knowledge & Facts About Sheep
Let’s start out with some general sheep information and answers to common questions about sheep as a species and type of livestock.
On this page we’ve assembled some of our articles which fall into a general knowledge category. These include answers to questions about sheep horns, tails and other physical characteristics.
We’ll also share answers to common questions about what types of food you can (and can’t) feed to sheep as treats, why sheep look the way they do, and information about the history of sheep as a species and how they came to be used on farms around the world.
Sheep as a Species
Ovis aries, or sheep, are a ruminant mammal and there are currently just over a billion domesticated sheep kept as pets and livestock around the world. Most people believe that the modern domesticated sheep breeds are descended from the Mouflon.
Today, farmers raise sheep for wool, meat, their pelts, and even as dairy animals. Breeds like the East Friesian are highly valued as dairy stock.
- Wool is harvested through shearing (which doesn’t hurt – it’s like a haircut to you or me),
- Meat and pelts are harvested by slaughter, or killing the animal, and
- Milk can be harvested by hand, or with mechanical milking machines.
The general term for raising and caring for sheep is sheep husbandry, and this is practiced on farms throughout the world. If people live somewhere, chances are good that there are sheep nearby.
Popular Articles on General Sheep Information Topics
67 Head-Turning Facts About Sheep
Did you know that there are over a billion sheep worldwide? That’s just one of the 67 fascinating facts about sheep I’ve gathered together in
All About Sheep Milk
Have you heard of sheep milk but never had a chance to try it? While it’s still relatively unknown or not very often used in
Are Sheep Good Pets?
Most of us think of sheep as farm animals. We think of herds grazing amongst the fields and hillsides. That they’re raised for wool or
Are Sheep Smart?
Do you assume that sheep are dumb? If so, you might be surprised to learn this actually isn’t the case. While they’re not the smartest
Can Sheep Eat Apples?
Can sheep eat apples or will apples and/or apple seeds harm a sheep or make them sick? Do you need to be concerned about sheep
Can Sheep Eat Carrots?
If you have sheep, you may wonder if sheep eat carrots or wondered whether you can feed them carrot greens. It’s a good idea to
Can Sheep Swim?
If you have sheep or have ever spent time around these animals, you probably know that they don’t really like being in water. In fact,
Do Sheep Have Horns?
Have you ever if sheep have horns? It’s a common question, and the answer is yes, sometimes. Whether a sheep has horns or doesn’t depends
Do Sheep Have Tails?
You’ve probably seen sheep at a fair or in a field that they did not appear to have a tail. But, did you know that
Does Shearing Hurt the Sheep?
Ever hesitate to wear wool because you think shearing hurts sheep? Well, there’s no need to worry. Shearing definitely doesn’t hurt sheep. In fact, sheep
How Long Do Sheep Live?
Domestic sheep (Ovis aries) is one of the most popular livestock animals in existence. These docile creatures were one of the earliest domesticated species in
How Many Sheep are in New Zealand?
There’s no doubt about it: New Zealand is known for its sheep. The country has a great many of these woolly mammals. You may have
How Much Do Sheep Cost? (a guide to buying sheep)
If you’ve never owned sheep before, budgeting for and buying a sheep can be a little overwhelming. Are you buying a market lamb for a
Is a Sheep a Herbivore?
Did you know that sheep are ruminants? Ruminants have a complex digestive system with multiple stomachs. It’s because sheep are ruminants that they need large
Sheep vs Goat Comparison (what is the difference?)
Are you wondering what is the difference between a sheep and a goat? Many people do. After all sheep and goats are similar farm animals.
The Ruminant Digestive System (explained in plain English)
Sheep are ruminants, meaning they have a ruminant digestive system and process the foods they eat in a unique way. If you have sheep (or
Wether Sheep (what are they?)
If you’ve ever asked yourself “What is a wether?” the answer is pretty simple: a wether is a male sheep castrated before sexual maturity. The
What Do Sheep Eat?
Whether you’re a new shepherd or you’re just curious and want to learn a little more about sheep food – it’s important to answer the
What is a Baby Sheep Called?
If you’ve ever asked yourself “What is a Baby Sheep Called?” you aren’t alone, and the truth is that there are several different names for
What is a Female Sheep Called?
Many people wonder about the name of a female sheep, and are surprised to discover that there are several commonly used names a female sheep
What is a Group of Sheep Called?
Sheep are gregarious, meaning they prefer to stick together and move as a group. It’s a defense mechanism because fleeing is their only way to
What is a Male Sheep Called?
While many people group male sheep and female sheep together under the umbrella term “sheep” – did you know that male sheep are called many
What is the Largest Sheep Breed in the World?
If you’ve ever wondered what the biggest sheep breed is you’re not alone, and while many meat sheep breeds grow to an impressive height, length
Don’t stop now, let’s keep learning! Next up, we’ll explore all about starting out with a new sheep farm.