Difference between Lamb and Sheep

By: | Updated: Jun-14, 2021

Lamb and Sheep are two terms that are often used interchangeably. They are in fact different, though. Both are domesticated animals that have been raised for their meat, but they have distinct differences in their appearance, as well as in the way they are bred. In this article, we will learn about the difference between Lamb and Sheep.

Summary Table

Lamb Sheep
The offspring of the sheep. The adult female of animals that belong to the Ovis aries family.
Has not developed a thick layer of fur yet. Has a thick white coat of fur that has been shorn.
Has small or no horns at all. Has horns which curve outwards and upwards.
Not mature enough for breeding. Can breed up to five years after birth depending on their health condition and age.

Definitions

Difference between Lamb and Sheep

Sheep belong to the same family as that of the goats and pigs which are part of the group called Artiodactyla. These animals have a two layered coat that is white on their face while their body is colored black or brown depending on the type of sheep they belong to. Sheep also have a pair of horns which curve outwards and upwards. The ears are usually long and drooping as well as a thin tail that ends with a tuft of hair.

In addition, sheep and lambs can be seen in many countries like Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Asia and America. These animals do not have natural enemies except for some predators like foxes and wolves which are killed by shepherds.

There are three types of sheep that include Merino Sheep, Dorset Horn Sheep and the Southdown Sheep. The Merino Sheep is known for its very fine wool while Dorset Horn Sheep has a double layer coat that is white on its face while its body is colored black or brown. The Southdown Sheep has a coat that resembles curls while its body color ranges from black to white or brown to white depending on the country.

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Sheep farming is the practice of breeding sheep for wool and meat. They are also used for their skin to make leather goods such as shoes and gloves among others. Sheep farming is an ancient practice that dates back to around 9500 BC. This practice started in Mesopotamia and later spread to other parts of the world like the Middle East, Europe and Asia among others. Sheep farming is still practiced in most parts of the world but some areas have switched to cattle farming because it gives more profits than sheep farming. In addition, sheep breeding has increased over time due to modern methods like selective breeding that makes it possible for farmers to produce more lambs per year as compared to before.

The main method used in sheep farming is called grazing which involves allowing the animals to graze on open fields that are covered with grass or herbs among other plants while avoiding trees that can cause them harm. The second method used in sheep farming is called shepherding which involves herding the animals from one place to another so that they can be taken care of by shepherds. The third method used in sheep farming is called transhumance which involves moving the animals from one place to another in search of water and food among other things.

Sheep farming is a challenging process because it requires a lot of care, time and money. The farmer has to spend time looking after the animals like providing them with food and water among other things. In addition, the farmer has to invest a lot of money in purchasing materials that are needed for the animals like the feed, medicines and vaccines among others. The farmer also has to look for alternative sources of income in case he/she cannot afford to purchase all these materials. This practice is highly affected by weather conditions because drought can cause many problems including death among others.

Lamb vs Sheep

The lambs are the offspring of the sheep which belong to their first birth. A lamb has to be less than a year old to be called a lamb. In fact, lambs are not just young sheep, but they are sheep that have not yet been shorn.

A sheep is an adult female that has been shorn. A female sheep can become a lamb when it is less than a year old. However, once it has been shorn, it is no longer called a lamb. It becomes an adult sheep and cannot be called a lamb again until it is less than a year old.

Lambs are very similar to sheep in that they belong to the same family of Ovis aries. They differ from their parents because they have no wool and are not mature enough for breeding.

Most farmers separate the lambs from their mothers immediately after birth so that they can be taken care of by another animal in case their mother dies during birth or is incapable of taking care of them. Most lambs are usually raised by the ewes but in some cases, they are raised by their mothers. In addition, some farmers take advantage of the lambs’ behavior to easily herd them from one place to another as compared to other animals.

These animals live for about ten years but can breed up to five years after birth depending on their health condition and age among other factors. They have an average litter size ranging from eight to twelve per year after giving birth once every year during spring season in the northern hemisphere.

The meat from sheep is usually used in the making of a variety of dishes. However, the meat from lamb is the most preferred because it is more tender. The younger lambs are more tender than the older ones.

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