a blog about Kilt and her kids plus Trouble our JRT mascot.

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Sequim, Washington, United States

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sheep Facts

Sheep facts:

Body Temperature: 100.9° F-103.8° F

Pulse/heart rate: 70 - 80 beats per minute

Respiration rate: 12 - 20 breaths per minute

Estrus ("heat") cycle: 18 days

Length of each "heat": 28 hours

Gestation (length of pregnancy): 145 days

Breeding season: August through fall

Weight: Adult sheep average between 150lbs. and 200lbs. for ewes.


How do sheep differ from goats?

People who are not familiar with livestock often confuse sheep and goats. What are some of the differences?

Sheep have fleece, goats have hair. (Exception: Barbados sheep.)

Sheep say baa goats say maa. Seriously, their voices are different.

Most goats are naturally horned, but many sheep breeds are polled (naturally hornless).

Sheep are stupid, goats are smart. We like sheep, but would never bet money on a lamb trying to find its way out of a maze. As far as survival skills go, though, sheep must be as smart as many other species. They have survived in the wild for hundreds of years all over the world.

Sheep need less copper than goats. Some mineral supplements that are great for goats can be toxic to sheep.

Sheep are more likely to overeat than goats. Be careful about turning sheep into a lush pasture or freefeeding them more hay than they usually eat. Sheep should be vaccinated for enterotoxemia or "overeating" disease. In our area, enterotoxemia has not been a problem for goats on a controlled diet.

Sheep are grazers, goats are browsers. That means sheep are probably better weed eaters, since they eat grasses and other plants all the way down to the ground. Goats, on the other hand, nibble here and there, sampling a variety of bushes and leaves.

Sheep, except those that are tamed by bottlefeeding, are more skittish than goats. Their instinct is to flee, not fight.

Sheep milk is higher in fat than goat milk. Either one can be used to make feta cheese. The Farm cats love both kinds!

Some of these next comments are based on our personal experience raising both sheep and goats in Southern California, sometimes in the same pen. Our observations may be different than yours if you live in a different climate or use pasture yearround for your livestock:

Sheep are more likely to have worms; their favorite is the stomach worm strongyles. Goats are more likely to have coccidia (an intestinal protozoan parasite).

Sheep are less susceptible to external parasites, including fungi such as ringworm. Goats, especially those with longer hair, often have lice. Ringworm is common.

Sheep need hoof trimming much less often (maybe twice per year) than goats (once or twice monthly).



Karen said...

Our sheep say maaaa. Must be that Canadian accent:)

gvmama said...

hahahahahahaha Good they don't say Ehhhhhhh?