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Domestic sheep
A research flock at U.S. Sheep Experiment Station near Dubois, Idaho
Conservation status
Domesticated
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Caprinae
Genus: Ovis
Species: O. aries
Binomial name
Ovis aries
Linnaeus, 1758
Domestic sheep (Ovis aries) are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. .Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates.^ If a sheep is unable to stand on all four legs or is so injured that transport is likely to increase any pain it may be experiencing it is unfit to travel.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ All sheep in which injury or disease is or seems likely to be causing severe or persistent pain, or distress, severe malaise or emaciation must be treated.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.Although the name "sheep" applies to many species, in everyday usage it almost always refers to Ovis aries.^ A Domestic Sheep (Ovis aries) is the most common species of sheep.
  • Sheep - Uncyclopedia, the content-free encyclopedia 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC uncyclopedia.wikia.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Scientific Name: Bovidae Ovis aries .

^ Although the name 'sheep' applies to many species, in everyday usage it almost always refers to Ovis aries.

Numbering a little over 1 billion, domestic sheep are the most numerous species in their genus.
Sheep are most likely descended from the wild mouflon of Europe and Asia. One of the earliest animals to be domesticated for agricultural purposes, sheep are raised for fleece, meat (lamb, hogget or mutton) and milk. .A sheep's wool is the most widely used of any animal, and is usually harvested by shearing.^ After shearing sheep may be keen to get back to pasture, but without their wool they can be injured by crowding through gateways.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ When sheep are killed on the farm for home consumption or for dog food or because they are old, injured or diseased, the most humane method available should be used.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Most New Zealand sheep are naturally polled and in horned breeds there is usually no valid reason for disbudding or dehorning.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Ovine meat is called lamb when from younger animals and mutton when from older ones. .Sheep continue to be important for wool and meat today, and are also occasionally raised for pelts, as dairy animals, or as model organisms for science.^ Dirty sheep are cleaned in the meat plant yards by spray washing or swim washing and occasionally by removing dags and dirty wool, and this contributes to preslaughter stress.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Sheep husbandry is practised throughout the majority of the inhabited world, and has been fundamental to many civilizations. .In the modern era, Australia, New Zealand, the southern and central South American nations, and the British Isles are most closely associated with sheep production.^ Because of these favourable conditions and the freedom to range and graze good quality pasture, New Zealand sheep enjoy a high standard of husbandry.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ New Zealand’s temperate climate and topography are ideal for the extensive grassland farming of the country’s approximately 50 million sheep.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Gastrointestinal parasitism, facial eczema and footrot are among the most common diseases in New Zealand and susceptibility to these diseases can be reduced by selective breeding.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Sheep-raising has a large lexicon of unique terms which vary considerably by region and dialect. .Use of the word sheep began in Middle English as a derivation of the Old English word scēap; it is both the singular and plural name for the animal.^ When sheep are killed on the farm for home consumption or for dog food or because they are old, injured or diseased, the most humane method available should be used.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.A group of sheep is called a flock, herd or mob.^ Baby sheep are called Lambs A group of sheep is referred to as a mob or a flock .

^ A group of sheep is called a flock.
  • Animal Facts - Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.veganpeace.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Sheep move around in large groups called flocks.
  • ABC-KID.com - Sheep Pictures For Kids 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.abc-kid.com [Source type: General]

Adult female sheep are referred to as ewes, intact males as rams or occasionally tups, castrated males as wethers, and younger sheep as lambs. .Many other specific terms for the various life stages of sheep exist, generally related to lambing, shearing, and age.^ Sheep in general are easier to raise and more profitable on a comparative basis with other farm animals and have been the most valuable animals for mankind since prehistoric times.
  • Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Growers Association - Hudson Valley New York 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.sheepandwool.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Raising Sheep the Modern Way and Turning Wool into a Cottage Industry and many others by Paula Simmons.

^ Although many sheep and goat guards stay with the flock or nearby, other equally-successful guards leave their flocks or may remain nearby but not necessarily with the flock.
  • Llama Sheep Guards 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ida.net [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.Being a key animal in the history of farming, sheep have a deeply entrenched place in human culture, and find representation in much modern language and symbology.^ When sheep are killed on the farm for home consumption or for dog food or because they are old, injured or diseased, the most humane method available should be used.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

As livestock, sheep are most-often associated with pastoral, Arcadian imagery. .Sheep figure in many mythologies—such as the Golden Fleece—and major religions, especially the Abrahamic traditions.^ Propping the sheep on its rump so that it leans back on the handler’s leg is a convenient method of restraint for many quick procedures such as foot trimming and shearing.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

In both ancient and modern religious ritual, sheep are used as sacrificial animals.

Description

A sheep's skull
.Domestic sheep are relatively small ruminants, usually with a crimped hair called wool and often with horns forming a lateral spiral.^ Mulesing is performed on some Merino sheep on a relatively small number of farms where sheep are farmed in very extensive systems and where there is a high risk of breech flystrike.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Domestic sheep differ from their wild relatives and ancestors in several respects, having become uniquely neotenic as a result of man's influence.[1][2] .A few primitive breeds of sheep retain some of the characteristics of their wild cousins, such as short tails.^ Sheep information Sheep breeds Characteristics of ...
  • Sheep Definition | Definition of Sheep at Dictionary.com 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC dictionary.reference.com [Source type: Reference]

^ The Shetlands are called a primitive breed of sheep.

^ Sheep usually have short tails.
  • sheep -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.britannica.com [Source type: Reference]

.Depending on breed, domestic sheep may have no horns at all (polled), or horns in both sexes (as in wild sheep), or in males only.^ Domestic breeds of sheep are descendent of 2 kinds of wild sheep.
  • All about sheep for kids and teachers - kiddyhouse.com 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC kiddyhouse.com [Source type: General]

^ Both sexes are usually horned.
  • http://www.sheepcentre.co.uk/sheep_breeds.htm 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.sheepcentre.co.uk [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Both sexes are polled.
  • http://www.sheepcentre.co.uk/sheep_breeds.htm 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.sheepcentre.co.uk [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.Most horned breeds have a single pair, but a few breeds may have several.^ Ewes bear a single lamb, and the ewe-lamb pairs remain in the lambing cliffs a few days until the lambs are strong enough to travel.
  • Dall Sheep: Wildlife Notebook Series - Alaska Department of Fish and Game 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.adfg.state.ak.us [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The horn weight of old "full curl" rams or those breeds with large horns may exceed 13% of his body mass.

^ Most New Zealand sheep are naturally polled and in horned breeds there is usually no valid reason for disbudding or dehorning.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[3]
Another trait unique to domestic sheep (as compared to wild ovines, not other livestock) is their wide variation in color. .Wild sheep are largely variations of brown hues, and variation with species is extremely limited.^ Wild sheep are largely variations of brown hues.

^ Domestic sheep are the most numerous species in their genus and are most likely descended from the wild mouflon of Europe and Asia.

^ In cold environments, wild and/or free roaming sheep must produce lambs large enough to survive hypothermia at birth.

Colors of domestic sheep range from pure white to dark chocolate brown and even spotted or piebald.[4][5] .Selection for easily dyeable white fleeces began early in sheep domestication, and as white wool is a dominant trait it spread quickly.^ In hot weather sheep should be mustered in the cool of the early morning or evening especially if their wool is of medium length or longer.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Affected sheep should be euthanased as early as possible both for welfare reasons and to help reduce the spread of infection.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.However, colored sheep do appear in many modern breeds, and may even appear as a recessive trait in white flocks.^ However, coloured sheep do appear in many modern breeds and may even appear as a recessive trait in white flocks.

^ You can use this information if you want to keep "color" out of your flock or breed your sheep for a specific trait.
  • Color Genetics in Icelandic Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.icelandicsheep.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Raising Sheep the Modern Way and Turning Wool into a Cottage Industry and many others by Paula Simmons.

[4][5] While white wool is desirable for large commercial markets, there is a niche market for colored fleeces, mostly for handspinning.[6] .The nature of the fleece varies widely among the breeds, from dense and highly crimped, to long and hair-like.^ Fleece The fleece consisting of both wool and hair is highly variable.

^ The fur is smooth and composed of an outer coat of brittle guard hairs and short, gray, crimped fleece underfur.
  • Bighorn Sheep (DesertUSA) 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.desertusa.com [Source type: General]

^ Wensleydale sheep & fleeces Sheep & fleeces other breeds Roving, top, yarn, doll hair .

There is variation of wool type and quality even among members of the same flock, so wool classing is a step in the commercial processing of the fibre.
Suffolks are a medium wool, black-faced breed of meat sheep that make up 60% of the sheep population in the U.S.[7]
.Depending on breed, sheep show a range of heights and weights.^ Depending on breed, sheep show a range of heights and weights.

^ Sheep shall be given sufficient good quality water to maintain body weight within the normal physiological range for their type, age and sex.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The requirements for shepherding at lambing time vary from flock to flock depending on the ease of lambing of the particular breed of sheep or strain within the breed, the topography and the expected lambing percentage.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Their rate of growth and mature weight is a heritable trait that is often selected for in breeding.[7] Ewes typically weigh between 45 and 100 kilograms (99 and 220 lb), and rams between 45 and 160 kilograms (99 and 350 lb).[8] Mature sheep have 32 teeth. .As with other ruminants, the front teeth in the lower jaw bite against a hard, toothless pad in the upper jaw.^ If the lower jaw is relatively long or relatively short in comparison to the upper jaw, or if incisors are excessively worn or very long or very loose or if incisors are missing the sheep may not be able to graze short pasture effectively.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

These are used to pick off vegetation, then the rear teeth grind it before it is swallowed. There are eight lower front teeth in ruminants, but there is some disagreement as to whether these are eight incisors, or six incisors and two incisor-shaped canines. This means that the dental formula for sheep is either I:0/4 C:0/0 P:3/3 M:3/3, or I:0/3 C:0/1 P:3/3 M:3/3.[9] There is a large toothless gap between the front "biting" teeth and the rear "grinding" teeth.
.For the first few years of life it is possible to calculate the age of sheep from their front teeth, as a pair of milk teeth is replaced by larger adult teeth each year, the full set of eight adult front teeth being complete at about four years of age.^ Sheep in their first year of life are particularly susceptible and generally require regular drenching with an effective drench.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Bottle-reared lambs should be fed as frequently as possible, up to four times daily and at least three times daily for the first week of life, thereafter twice daily.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.The front teeth are then gradually lost as sheep age, making it harder for them to feed and hindering the health and productivity of the animal.^ It should be noted that under the existing Animals Protection Act it is an offence to castrate any sheep over the age of 9 months unless the castration is performed by a veterinarian.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ With guidance from a veterinarian or other animal health consultant, farmers should monitor the trace element status of their sheep and provide supplements as appropriate.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Every sheep farmer should have an animal health programme, preferably documented, and developed in consultation with a veterinarian.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.For this reason, domestic sheep on normal pasture begin to slowly decline from four years on, and the average life expectancy of a sheep is 10 to 12 years, though some sheep may live as long as 20 years.^ Year of the Sheep Journal $12.00 .
  • Year of the Sheep : Year of the Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.cafepress.com [Source type: News]

^ Year of the Sheep Ringer T $20.00 .
  • Year of the Sheep : Year of the Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.cafepress.com [Source type: News]

^ Looked really fake to me (And I lived on a sheep farm for 10 years) .
  • I've Seen It All Now: Extreme LED Sheep Art - Geekologie 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.geekologie.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[3][10][11]
Sheep have good hearing, and are sensitive to noise when being handled.[12] .Sheep have horizontal slit-shaped pupils, possessing excellent peripheral vision; with visual fields of approximately 270° to 320°, sheep can see behind themselves without turning their heads.^ Sheep have horizontal slit-shaped pupils, possessing excellent peripheral vision.

^ So the sheep weigh themselves without any human intervention, saving quite a bit of labour for the farmer.
  • Catalyst: Sheep Smart - ABC TV Science 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.abc.net.au [Source type: General]

^ But without human interference, sheep grow just enough wool to protect themselves from temperature extremes.

[6][13] .However, sheep have poor depth perception; shadows and dips in the ground may cause sheep to baulk.^ However, breeding for resistance to these diseases in certain populations of sheep means it may be necessary to allow the disease to express itself in these sheep.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ However, well fed sheep may survive under snow drifts for several days.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Avoid leaving freshly shorn sheep in dusty yards, as any cut may be a potential access site for the bacteria which cause "lympho" or caseous lymphadenitis.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.In general, sheep have a tendency to move out of the dark and into well-lit areas,[14] and prefer to move uphill when disturbed.^ Housed sheep should have fresh air, sufficient room to move around freely and dry areas to lie on.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ It tends to occur in large groups of sheep if they move too rapidly and especially when sheep areforced into corners or through narrow gateways or when they rush to feed.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.Sheep also have an excellent sense of smell, and, like all species of their genus, have scent glands just in front of the eyes, and interdigitally on the feet.^ If a sheep is unable to stand on all four legs or is so injured that transport is likely to increase any pain it may be experiencing it is unfit to travel.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ All sheep in which injury or disease is or seems likely to be causing severe or persistent pain, or distress, severe malaise or emaciation must be treated.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ However, if horns curl round in front of the eyes or are likely to grow into the head, partial or complete dehorning is necessary.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.The purpose of these glands is uncertain,[15] but those on the face may be used in breeding behaviors.^ However, breeding for resistance to these diseases in certain populations of sheep means it may be necessary to allow the disease to express itself in these sheep.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Long-term solutions for problem flocks may include the use of footrot vaccine, selection for breeding of sheep with sound feet and culling problem sheep.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[7] .The foot glands might also be related to reproduction,[7] but alternative reasons, such as secretion of a waste product or a scent marker to help lost sheep find their flock, have also been proposed.^ Affected sheep should be euthanased as early as possible both for welfare reasons and to help reduce the spread of infection.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[15]
Sheep and goats are closely related as both are in the subfamily Caprinae. However, they are separate species, so hybrids rarely occur, and are always infertile. .A hybrid of a ewe and a buck (a male goat) is called a sheep-goat hybrid, and is not to be confused with the genetic chimera called a geep.^ Unwanted mating of ewe lambs should be avoided by running them separately from all fertile male sheep from the time they are about 4 months old.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.Visual differences between sheep and goats include the beard and divided upper lip unique to goats.^ Visual differences between sheep and goats include the beard and divided upper lip unique to goats.

^ Sheep do not have a beard like the billy goat.
  • All about sheep for kids and teachers - kiddyhouse.com 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC kiddyhouse.com [Source type: General]

^ How do sheep differ from goats?
  • Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.goats4h.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Sheep tails also hang down, even when short or docked, while the short tails of goats are held upwards. Sheep breeds are also often naturally polled (either in both sexes or just in the female), while naturally polled goats are rare (though many are polled artificially). Males of the two species differ in that buck goats acquire a unique and strong odor during the rut, whereas rams do not.[11]

Breeds

Sheep being judged for adherence to their breed standard, and being held by the most common method of restraint
The domestic sheep is a multi-purpose animal, and the more than 200 breeds now in existence were created to serve these diverse purposes.[3][16] .Some sources give a count of a thousand or more breeds, but these numbers cannot be verified.^ These ewes retain some of the hardiness and mothering ability of their mountain dams, together with the ability to milk well and have twins from their father's breed.

^ The active life span for some breeds may be more than double the modern or larger sheep.

^ This would require more and/or better grazing areas and due to most of the naturally sparse or mountainous environments where these breeds originated and the limited areas, this would have been impossible.

[6][11] .Almost all sheep are classified as being best suited to furnishing a certain product: wool, meat, milk, hides, or a combination in a dual-purpose breed.^ Some sheep breeds are better raised for meat; others for wool.
  • Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.goats4h.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ To get the best milk production from sheep, provide high quality forages.
  • Dairy Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.attra.org [Source type: General]

^ A huge meat sheep with excellent wool.
  • Sheep - SRS Sheep, Goats, Alpacas 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.srswool.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.Other features used when classifying sheep include face color (generally white or black), tail length, presence or lack of horns, and the topography for which the breed has been developed.^ Black sheep on white sheep .

^ You can use this information if you want to keep "color" out of your flock or breed your sheep for a specific trait.
  • Color Genetics in Icelandic Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.icelandicsheep.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The face and legs are also white with black ears, nose, eye patches, knees and feet.

This last point is especially stressed in the UK, where breeds are described as either upland (hill or mountain) or lowland breeds.[14] .A sheep may also be of a fat-tailed type, which is a dual-purpose sheep common in Africa and Asia with larger deposits of fat within and around its tail.^ Sheep shall be given sufficient good quality water to maintain body weight within the normal physiological range for their type, age and sex.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.Breeds are also grouped based on how well they are suited to producing a certain type of breeding stock.^ They do have a knack with money though, which is well-suited for a person who spends money like the Sheep does.
  • Chinese Horoscopes - The Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.usbridalguide.com [Source type: Original source]

^ They are excellent mothers, often produce twins and have enough milk to ensure those lambs grow well.

^ Wool breeds of sheep produce a wide variety of wool types and textures from coarse long to the very, very fine.

.Generally, sheep are thought to be either "ewe breeds" or "ram breeds". Ewe breeds are those that are hardy, and have good reproductive and mothering capabilities – they are for replacing breeding ewes in standing flocks.^ Generally sheep should not be deprived of feed for longer than 24 hours and they must not be deprived of feed for longer than 48 hours.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The requirements for shepherding at lambing time vary from flock to flock depending on the ease of lambing of the particular breed of sheep or strain within the breed, the topography and the expected lambing percentage.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Long-term solutions for problem flocks may include the use of footrot vaccine, selection for breeding of sheep with sound feet and culling problem sheep.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.Ram breeds are selected for rapid growth and carcase quality, and are mated with ewe breeds to produce meat lambs.^ Q. At what age can I first breed a ewe lamb?

^ The Down breeds are the specialist meat breeds of the sheep industry developed to produce quality lambs.

^ CR-3802 Flock Improvement through Ram Selection In a purebred or commercial flock where replacement females are produced, ram selection is critical and can account for 80 to 90 percent or more of the flock improvement.

.Lowland and upland breeds are also crossed in this fashion, with the hardy hill ewes crossed with larger, fast-growing lowland rams to produce ewes called mules, which can then be crossed with meat-type rams to produce prime market lambs.^ There is no "ram taint" in the meat of prepubertal lambs.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[14] .Many breeds, especially rare or primitive ones, fall into no clear category.^ No longer classified as a Rare Breed .

^ In general the breeds fall into five major categories: .

^ We began breeding Jacobs in 1969 and like so many of our breeds were too attached to them to give them up, even when it was clear they were no longer critically rare.

The Barbados Blackbelly is a hair sheep breed of Caribbean origin.
.Breeds are categorized by the type of their wool.^ They assembled some "original old-type" Navajo sheep from local flocks and for 30 years introduced fine wool breeds and long wool breeds.

^ Different breeds of sheep are bred specifically for the type of wool and milk they produce as well as being a valuable source of meat.

^ Wool breeds of sheep produce a wide variety of wool types and textures from coarse long to the very, very fine.

.Fine wool breeds are those that have wool of great crimp and density, which are preferred for textiles.^ As European settlers came west and the demand arose for fine wool in the American textile industry, the churros were "graded up" by crossing with Merino and English longwools.

^ They are known as a wool breed, because of the fineness of the wool.....which is a joy to spin.

^ Only about 40 of those breeds are for meat only sheep well known to most, the rest are mostly wool breeds of sheep that were bred for both wool and meat.

Most of these were derived from Merino sheep, and the breed continues to dominate the world sheep industry. .Downs breeds have wool between the extremes, and are typically fast-growing meat and ram breeds with dark faces.^ Ewes typically weigh between 100 and 225 pounds (45 – 100 kg), with the larger rams between 100 and 350 pounds (45 – 160 kg).

^ Different breeds of sheep are bred specifically for the type of wool and milk they produce as well as being a valuable source of meat.

^ Some sheep breeds are better raised for meat; others for wool.
  • Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.goats4h.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[17] Some major medium wool breeds, such as the Corriedale, are dual-purpose crosses of long and fine-wooled breeds and were created for high-production commercial flocks. .Long wool breeds are the largest of sheep, with long wool and a slow rate of growth.^ Description The Navajo-Churro sheep is a small, long tailed sheep with a double coat of wool (80%) and hair (20%).

^ By the Middle Ages, long woolled, white faced sheep inhabited the lowland areas, while mixed sheep with finer and shorter wool were kept in the hill country.
  • Sheep Camp 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ymccoll.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Different breeds of sheep are bred specifically for the type of wool and milk they produce as well as being a valuable source of meat.

.Long wool sheep are most valued for crossbreeding to improve the attributes of other sheep types.^ Sheep do best on a field rotation system, as do most types of livestock, however, unlike other types of livestock,  they fertilize a field evenly and their hooves almost till it into the ground.

^ Approximately 2/3 of sheep are concentrated on hill and upland areas which are dominated by extensive grazing land and are usually not suitable for other types of agricultural production.
  • The Vegetarian Society - Information Sheet - sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.vegsoc.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ By the Middle Ages, long woolled, white faced sheep inhabited the lowland areas, while mixed sheep with finer and shorter wool were kept in the hill country.
  • Sheep Camp 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ymccoll.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

For example: the American Columbia breed was developed by crossing Lincoln rams (a long wool breed) with fine-wooled Rambouillet ewes.
Coarse or carpet wool sheep are those with a medium to long length wool of characteristic coarseness. .Breeds traditionally used for carpet wool show great variability, but the chief requirement is a wool that will not break down under heavy use (as would that of the finer breeds).^ The wool has a light grease, lovely crimping, and sometimes color variations right down to the skin.

^ In most cases, the miniatures seem to have finer wool than standard sheep of the same breeds.
  • sheep Facts, information, pictures | Encyclopedia.com articles about sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.encyclopedia.com [Source type: Academic]

^ The manufacturers recommendations can be considered the minimum requirements; the use of higher cartridge strength would also be appropriate.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.As the demand for carpet-quality wool declines, some breeders of this type of sheep are attempting to use a few of these traditional breeds for alternative purposes.^ Some sheep breeds are better raised for meat; others for wool.
  • Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.goats4h.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ You can use this information if you want to keep "color" out of your flock or breed your sheep for a specific trait.
  • Color Genetics in Icelandic Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.icelandicsheep.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Sheep were first domesticated c.7,000 years ago, and the first use of their fleeces for wool is dated at c.4000 BC Descendants of Roman flocks figured in the evolution of the Merino type in Spain.
  • sheep Facts, information, pictures | Encyclopedia.com articles about sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.encyclopedia.com [Source type: Academic]

.Others have always been primarily meat-class sheep.^ These include sheep that are grown primarily for wool, that are grown primarily for meat production and even sheep without wool.
  • How to Raise Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.cormosheep.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Some sheep breeds are better raised for meat; others for wool.
  • Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.goats4h.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[18]
A minor class of sheep are the dairy breeds. .Dual-purpose breeds that may primarily be meat or wool sheep are often used secondarily as milking animals, but there are a few breeds that are predominantly used for milking.^ A huge meat sheep with excellent wool.
  • Sheep - SRS Sheep, Goats, Alpacas 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.srswool.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ There use to be a lot of sheep in Australia !
  • Sheep - Uncyclopedia, the content-free encyclopedia 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC uncyclopedia.wikia.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Some sheep breeds are better raised for meat; others for wool.
  • Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.goats4h.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.These sheep do produce a higher quantity of milk and have slightly longer lactation curves.^ Today, sheep are mainly raised for their meat, as wool is no longer profitable and there is not a large market for hides or sheep milk.
  • sheep@Everything2.com 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.everything2.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Sheep milk is higher in fat than goat milk.
  • Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.goats4h.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Although these schools are designed primarily for new and prospective sheep producers, veteran shepherds are welcome so they can sharpen their sheep management skills.
  • Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office - Home 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.kysheepandgoat.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[19] .In the quality of their milk, fat and protein content percentages of dairy sheep vary from non-dairy breeds but lactose content does not.^ Sheep milk is higher in fat than goat milk.
  • Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.goats4h.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Dairy sheep producers spend mornings and evenings—seven days a week, week after week—feeding, milking, and cleaning up.
  • Dairy Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.attra.org [Source type: General]

^ Crosses between domestic and specialized dairy breeds produce anywhere from 250 to 650 pounds of milk per lactation.
  • Dairy Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.attra.org [Source type: General]

[20]
.A last group of sheep breeds is that of fur or hair sheep, which do not grow wool at all.^ Like all indigenous Northern European breeds they are all small, light boned sheep with naturally short tails and they all shed their naturally coloured wool in the spring like any wild animal.

^ Wool growing around the eyes of sheep should be trimmed if it obscures their vision.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The last step would be to shape the poll on sheep with a wool cap and to trim the legs of sheep with wool on the legs.

.Hair sheep are similar to the early domesticated sheep kept before woolly breeds were developed, and are raised for meat and pelts.^ Domesticated sheep are raised for their fleece (wool), for milk, and for meat.
  • sheep -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.britannica.com [Source type: Reference]

^ Some sheep breeds are better raised for meat; others for wool.
  • Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.goats4h.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The Dorper is a South African meat and hair sheep breed developed in the 1930s.
  • Dorper Sheep Meat Sheep White Dorper Lambs Full Blood Dorper Ewes Ozona Texas 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC dorper-sheep.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Some modern breeds of hair sheep, such as the Dorper, result from crosses between wool and hair breeds. .For meat and hide producers, hair sheep are cheaper to keep, as they do not need shearing.^ Wild sheep do not need to be sheared.
  • The Vegetarian Society - Information Sheet - sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.vegsoc.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Although these schools are designed primarily for new and prospective sheep producers, veteran shepherds are welcome so they can sharpen their sheep management skills.
  • Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office - Home 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.kysheepandgoat.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The sheep are sheared once a year, and last year they were wormed twice.

[18] .Hair sheep are also more resistant to parasites and hot weather.^ Barbados Blackbelly Sheep are pretty darn parasite resistant - for a sheep.

^ In hot weather sheep pant, and the evaporation of moisture from nose and mouth has a cooling effect.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ In hot weather sheep should be mustered in the cool of the early morning or evening especially if their wool is of medium length or longer.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[11]
With the modern rise of corporate agribusiness and the decline of localized family farms, many breeds of sheep are in danger of extinction. The Rare Breeds Survival Trust of the UK lists 22 native breeds as having only 3,000 registered animals (each), and the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy lists 14 as having fewer than 10,000.[21][22][23] Preferences for breeds with uniform characteristics and fast growth have pushed heritage (or heirloom) breeds to the margins of the sheep industry.[18] .Those that remain are maintained through the efforts of conservation organizations, breed registries, and individual farmers dedicated to their preservation.^ Great attention to individual breed standards and individual sheep will insure that only quality animals will be given the status of registration in this registry.

^ To ensure the conservation and survival of these unique sheep breeds through inspection, registration and education.

Diet

A ewe grazing
Sheep are exclusively herbivorous mammals. Like all ruminants, sheep have a complex digestive system composed of four chambers, allowing them to break down cellulose from stems, leaves, and seed hulls into simpler carbohydrates. When sheep graze, vegetation is chewed into a mass called a bolus, which is then passed into the first chamber: the rumen. The rumen is a 19 to 38-liter (5 to 10 gal) organ in which feed is fermented via a symbiotic relationship with the bacteria, protozoa, and yeasts of the gut flora.[24] The bolus is periodically regurgitated back to the mouth as cud for additional chewing and salivation.[24] .Cud chewing is an adaptation allowing ruminants to graze more quickly in the morning, and then fully chew and digest feed later in the day.^ A sheep regurgitates its food and chews the cud, thus enabling its four separate stomach compartments to thoroughly digest the grasses and other herbage that it eats.
  • sheep -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.britannica.com [Source type: Reference]

^ Bighorns are generally active during the day, feeding morning, noon and evening, then lying down to chew their cud.
  • Bighorn Sheep (DesertUSA) 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.desertusa.com [Source type: General]

^ There should be enough reserve feed to allow more frequent shifts if it is very wet and the fodder grazed becomes trampled and muddy.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[25] .This is beneficial as grazing, which requires lowering the head, leaves sheep vulnerable to predators, while cud chewing does not.^ Sheep are basically timid animals who tend to graze in flocks and are almost totally lacking in protection from predators.
  • sheep -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.britannica.com [Source type: Reference]

^ A sheep regurgitates its food and chews the cud, thus enabling its four separate stomach compartments to thoroughly digest the grasses and other herbage that it eats.
  • sheep -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.britannica.com [Source type: Reference]

^ During the grazing season, sheep are able to meet their nutrient requirements from pasture and a salt and mineral supplement.
  • Feeding Sheep - Virginia Cooperative Extension 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ext.vt.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[11]
During fermentation, the rumen produces gas that must be expelled; disturbances of the organ, such as sudden changes in a sheep's diet, can cause potentially fatal conditions such as bloat. After fermentation in the rumen, feed passes in to the reticulum and the omasum; special feeds such as grains may bypass the rumen altogether. After the first three chambers, food moves in to the abomasum for final digestion before processing by the intestines. The abomasum is the only one of the four chambers analogous to the human stomach (being the only one that absorbs nutrients for use as energy), and is sometimes called the "true stomach".[26]
Sheep follow a diurnal pattern of activity, feeding from dawn to dusk, stopping sporadically to rest and chew their cud. Ideal pasture for sheep is not lawn-like grass, but an array of grasses, legumes and forbs.[27] .Types of land where sheep are raised vary widely, from pastures that are seeded and improved intentionally to rough, native lands.^ But again, the size of that pasture will vary widely!

^ Approximately 2/3 of sheep are concentrated on hill and upland areas which are dominated by extensive grazing land and are usually not suitable for other types of agricultural production.
  • The Vegetarian Society - Information Sheet - sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.vegsoc.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Wool breeds of sheep produce a wide variety of wool types and textures from coarse long to the very, very fine.

Common plants toxic to sheep are present in most of the world, and include (but are not limited to) oak and acorns, tomato, yew, rhubarb, potato, and rhododendron.[28]
A sheep's ruminant system
Sheep are largely grazing herbivores, unlike browsing animals such as goats and deer that prefer taller foliage. With a much narrower face, sheep crop plants very close to the ground and can overgraze a pasture much faster than cattle.[11] For this reason, many shepherds use managed intensive rotational grazing, where a flock is rotated through multiple pastures, giving plants time to recover.[11][14] Paradoxically, sheep can both cause and solve the spread of invasive plant species. .By disturbing the natural state of pasture, sheep and other livestock can pave the way for invasive plants.^ Breeding Merino sheep with breech regions naturally free of wool is an additional way of permanently protecting sheep from breech strike.
  • Sheep - SRS Sheep, Goats, Alpacas 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.srswool.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ When pastures are not stocked heavily enough to utilize the spring flush of growth, sheep graze and regraze certain areas while other areas are left to mature and go to seed.
  • Feeding Sheep - Virginia Cooperative Extension 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ext.vt.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Q. We have planted some fruit trees in the pasture and wouldn't like for the sheep to eat them, but they are enclosed in 5' high wire mesh fence.

However, sheep also prefer to eat invasives such as cheatgrass, leafy spurge, kudzu and spotted knapweed over native species such as sagebrush, making grazing sheep effective for conservation grazing.[29] Research conducted in Imperial County, California compared lamb grazing with herbicides for weed control in seedling alfalfa fields. .Three trials demonstrated that grazing lambs were just as effective as herbicides in controlling winter weeds.^ Then a three-year rotation can be devised that always puts the weaned lambs on parasite-free pasture, by grazing them on fields used only for hay the year before.
  • Dairy Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.attra.org [Source type: General]

^ Grazing vineyards is just one application of a growing niche industry that is harnessing the eating power of animals to control invasive weeds, maintain lawns and clear fire-prone grasses.
  • Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office - Home 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.kysheepandgoat.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Sheep do just fine in the winter, on good local grass hay, sheep minerals and a bit of sweet feed when with lamb.

Entomologists also compared grazing lambs to insecticides for insect control in winter alfalfa. In this trial, lambs provided insect control as effectively as insecticides.[30]
Other than forage, the other staple feed for sheep is hay, often during the winter months. .The ability to thrive solely on pasture (even without hay) varies with breed, but all sheep can survive on this diet.^ Other breeds generally don't thrive on grass and hay alone and are going to cost more to raise than they will be worth.

^ Sheep will eat grain, but it's not essential if they have access to real good quality pasture and/or hay.

^ It's far easier and healthier to feed sheep some dry hay and grain BEFORE turning them into a lush pasture.

[18] Also included in some sheep's diets are minerals, either in a trace mix or in licks.
Naturally, a constant source of potable water is also a fundamental requirement for sheep. .The amount of water needed by sheep fluctuates with the season and the type and quality of the food they consume.^ Try to expose the critter to grain and/or hay as early as possible, as this is the food they'll be consuming for the rest of their life.

^ Sheep will eat grain, but it's not essential if they have access to real good quality pasture and/or hay.

^ Because of its high quality and palatability, ewes consume more alfalfa hay than is needed.
  • Feeding Sheep - Virginia Cooperative Extension 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ext.vt.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[31] When sheep feed on large amounts of new growth and there is precipitation (including dew, as sheep are dawn feeders), sheep need less water. When sheep are confined or are eating large amounts of cured hay, more water is typically needed. Sheep also require clean water, and may refuse to drink water that is covered in scum or algae.[31]
Sheep are one of the few livestock animals raised for meat today that have never been widely raised in an intensive, confined animal feeding operation (CAFO).[6] Although there is a growing movement advocating alternative farming styles, a large percentage of beef cattle, pigs, and poultry are still produced under such conditions.[7] .In contrast, only some sheep are regularly given high-concentration grain feed, much less kept in confinement.^ When high grain diets, certain alternative feeds, or silage are fed to sheep, additional calcium is required in the diet.
  • Feeding Sheep - Virginia Cooperative Extension 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ext.vt.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Sheep in feedlots or kept indoors should be examined at least once daily and any sheep which is losing weight or has become ill should be given appropriate treatment or removed.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Labor is much less time consuming with Dorper sheep.
  • Dorper Sheep Meat Sheep White Dorper Lambs Full Blood Dorper Ewes Ozona Texas 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC dorper-sheep.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Especially in industrialized countries, sheep producers may fatten market lambs before slaughter (called "finishing") in feedlots.[11] Many sheep breeders flush ewes and rams with a daily ration of grain during breeding to increase fertility.[32] .Ewes are also flushed during pregnancy to increase birth weights, as 70% of a lamb's growth occurs in the last five to six weeks of gestation.^ Pregnancy disease occurs only among ewes carrying multiple fetuses and usually only during the last four–five weeks of gestation.

^ Abortion occurs during the last four weeks of gestation.

^ Ewes can die during a difficult birth.

[6] .Otherwise, only lactating ewes and especially old or infirm sheep are commonly provided with grain.^ A young, lactating, or elderly animal will especially benefit from a grain supplement.

^ A general rule of thumb for concentrate feeding of lactating ewes is 1 pound of grain for each lamb nursing the ewe.
  • Feeding Sheep - Virginia Cooperative Extension 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ext.vt.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Table 4 provides a list of some of the by-products of grain milling and processing and certain nontraditional feeds that are commonly available in Virginia.
  • Feeding Sheep - Virginia Cooperative Extension 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ext.vt.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[6][18] .Feed provided to sheep must be specially formulated, as most cattle, poultry, pig, and even some goat feeds contain levels of copper that are lethal to sheep.^ Most outbreaks of copper poisoning in sheep can be traced to feeding supplements containing copper levels that have been formulated for cattle or pigs.
  • The Vegetarian Society - Information Sheet - sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.vegsoc.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Some sources even hypothesize that the European mouflon actually developed from the first domestic sheep in European being allowed to become feral and that all sheep are actually descendants of the Asiatic mouflon.
  • Breeds of Livestock - Sheep Breeds 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ansi.okstate.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ It's far easier and healthier to feed sheep some dry hay and grain BEFORE turning them into a lush pasture.

[6] The same danger applies to mineral supplements such as salt licks.[33]

Behavior and intelligence

Sheep showing flocking behavior during a sheepdog trial
Sheep are prey animals with a strong gregarious instinct, and a majority of sheep behaviors can be understood in these terms. .The dominance hierarchy of Ovis aries and its natural inclination to follow a leader to new pastures were the pivotal factors in it being one of the first domesticated livestock species.^ Another indication of the early domestication is the fact that they are the only species of livestock unable to return to a feral or wild state.
  • Breeds of Livestock - Sheep Breeds 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ansi.okstate.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Some sources even hypothesize that the European mouflon actually developed from the first domestic sheep in European being allowed to become feral and that all sheep are actually descendants of the Asiatic mouflon.
  • Breeds of Livestock - Sheep Breeds 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ansi.okstate.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Although the name 'sheep' applies to many species, in everyday usage it almost always refers to Ovis aries.

[34] .All sheep have a tendency to congregate close to other members of a flock, although this behavior varies with breed.^ The tendency to act as an outlier, bellwether or to fight for the middle of the flock stays with sheep throughout their adulthood.

^ Although there are very unusual exceptions, it's highly unlikely that the typical sheep (of any breed) will seek to be petted.

^ Top quality shearing and fitting of all sheep breeds.
  • Sheep Breeders Directory: Sheep_Shearers 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.nebraskasheep.com [Source type: General]

[12] .Farmers exploit this behavior to keep sheep together on unfenced pastures and to move them more easily.^ The assistance may take the form of artificial rearing, fostering, moving ewes with small lambs or 3 or more lambs to more sheltered paddocks or onto better pasture.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ We were never able to keep sheep and goats together in a harmonious group, for example.

^ The idea of keeping and breeding sheep, whether for wool, meat, milk or for a way to stay connected to the earth, can provide a whole lot more.

Shepherds may also use Herding dogs in this effort, whose highly bred herding ability can assist in moving flocks. .Sheep are also extremely food-oriented, and association of humans with regular feeding often results in sheep soliciting people for food.^ Several hundred different breeds of sheep have been developed to meet environmental conditions influenced by latitudes and altitudes and to satisfy human needs for clothing and food.
  • sheep -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.britannica.com [Source type: Reference]

^ The following are some people associated with "sheep" John Macarthur (Australian agriculturalist) Robert Bakewell (British agriculturalist) Other .
  • sheep -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.britannica.com [Source type: Reference]

^ When sheep are killed on the farm for home consumption or for dog food or because they are old, injured or diseased, the most humane method available should be used.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[35] .Those who are moving sheep may exploit this behavior by leading sheep with buckets of feed, rather than forcing their movements with herding.^ Shaun the Sheep (2007 TV series) Shaun is a sheep who doesn't follow the flock - in fact, he leads them into all sorts of scrapes and scraps...
  • Best "Sheep" Titles 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.imdb.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The active life span for some breeds may be more than double the modern or larger sheep.

^ Calcium to phosphorous ratios of less than 2:1 may lead to urinary calculi (water belly), which most often results in the death of the lamb.
  • Feeding Sheep - Virginia Cooperative Extension 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ext.vt.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[36][37]
.In regions where sheep have no natural predators, none of the native breeds of sheep exhibit a strong flocking behavior.^ Sheep exhibit a strong flocking behaviour.

^ Their is no "best breed" of sheep for everyone.

^ You can use this information if you want to keep "color" out of your flock or breed your sheep for a specific trait.
  • Color Genetics in Icelandic Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.icelandicsheep.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[11] Sheep can also become hefted to one particular local pasture (heft) so they do not roam freely in unfenced landscapes. .Ewes teach the heft to their lambs, and if whole flocks are culled it must be retaught to the replacement animals.^ Having said that, we must admit we have heard of a few instances where bottle lambs did NOT do well on sheep milk replacer.

^ They are considered to have more value and less risk when fed to the ewe flock than to lambs.
  • Feeding Sheep - Virginia Cooperative Extension 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ext.vt.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ From breeding to six weeks before lambing, the ewe flock can be maintained on permanent pastures, small grain pastures, stockpiled fescue, aftermath crop fields, or hay.
  • Feeding Sheep - Virginia Cooperative Extension 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ext.vt.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[7][38]
.Escaped sheep being led back to pasture with the enticement of food.^ After shearing sheep may be keen to get back to pasture, but without their wool they can be injured by crowding through gateways.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ But unless your pasture is a barren sandlot, I can't imagine any sheep being motivated to hop over a 5' fence just to pull some leaves off a tree!

^ It can also be a disadvantage when food sources are limited and sheep are almost as prone to overgrazing a pasture as goats.

This method of moving sheep works best with smaller flocks.
.Flock dynamics in sheep are, as a rule, only exhibited in a group of four or more sheep.^ Sheep exhibit a strong flocking behaviour.

^ Baby sheep are called Lambs A group of sheep is referred to as a mob or a flock .

^ By knowing the nutrient content of the hay, diets can be more accurately and economically formulated for the sheep flock.
  • Feeding Sheep - Virginia Cooperative Extension 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ext.vt.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.Fewer sheep may not react as normally expected when alone or with few other sheep.^ Overly fussy with high expectations, these Sheep often expect too much of themselves and of others.
  • Chinese Horoscopes - The Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.usbridalguide.com [Source type: Original source]

^ As a general rule, sheep should not be kept isolated from other sheep for any longer than necessary because they become distressed if left alone.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[6] For sheep, the primary defense mechanism is simply to flee from danger when their flight zone is crossed. .Secondly, cornered sheep may charge or threaten to do so through hoof stamping and aggressive posture.^ It tends to occur in large groups of sheep if they move too rapidly and especially when sheep areforced into corners or through narrow gateways or when they rush to feed.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ After shearing sheep may be keen to get back to pasture, but without their wool they can be injured by crowding through gateways.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.This is particularly true for ewes with newborn lambs.^ Very steep land is generally not suitable for lambing ewes, particularly for ewes likely to have two or more lambs.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ If it is important to identify newborn lambs, a temporary raddle mark should be applied and every effort made to minimise disturbance of ewe and lamb.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The first newborns of the year are the center of attention, particularly by the yearlings and again by the older or barren ewes.

[6]
.In displaying flocking, sheep have a strong lead-follow tendency, and a leader often as not is simply the first sheep to move.^ Often too, Sheep move elderly family members into their own homes to tae care of and nurture them back to health.
  • Chinese Horoscopes - The Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.usbridalguide.com [Source type: Original source]

^ Our first investments in rare sheep has more than paid for itself and so our flock has grown from the one breed to the seven distinct breeds we now raise.

^ Sheep can sometimes treat others the way they feel instead of the way they wish to be treated which can lead to a tendency to be overprotective and vulnerable.
  • Chinese Horoscopes - The Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.usbridalguide.com [Source type: Original source]

However, sheep do establish a pecking order through physical displays of dominance. .Dominant animals are inclined to be more aggressive with other sheep, and usually feed first at troughs.^ The sheep is usually stockier than its relative the goat; its horns, when present, are more divergent; it has scent glands in its face and hind feet; and the males lack the beards of goats.
  • sheep -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.britannica.com [Source type: Reference]

^ Producing much more output for input than the often slower growing, mostly meat only producing larger sheep breeds of today and of any other animals as well.

^ Intensive sheep production systems where the sheep are housed and fed harvested feeds are not as profitable as more extensive production systems where they harvest their own feed.
  • Feeding Sheep - Virginia Cooperative Extension 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ext.vt.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[39] .Primarily among rams, horn size is a factor in the flock hierarchy.^ We have noticed that the rams that have been used for breeding no matter the age or size, large to very small will all stay in one flock.

^ Some breeds only the ram has horns but in some the ewes do to, though always a bit smaller in size.

[40] .Rams with different size horns may be less inclined to fight to establish pecking order, while rams with similarly sized horns are more so.^ The horn weight of old "full curl" rams or those breeds with large horns may exceed 13% of his body mass.

^ One ram may soon "blink," that is, close its eyes and not look at the opponent, a sure sign that he is about to lose the fight.

^ Sheep which are housed and fed a concentrate diet may require a pellet with relatively less energy, about 9 MJ/kg, and more roughage.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[40]
Sheep can become stressed when separated from their flock members.[7] Sheep can recognize individual human and ovine faces, and remember them for years.[41][42] .Relationships in flocks tend to be closest among related sheep: in mixed-breed flocks same-breed subgroups tend to form, and a ewe and her direct descendants often move as a unit within large flocks.^ Large bands of sheep once fed on the grass and sagebrush of Wyoming; in the yearly grazing cycle, sheep often moved hundreds of miles, from the winter range of the lower elevations to the summer range in the mountains.
  • Sheep Camp 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ymccoll.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The assistance may take the form of artificial rearing, fostering, moving ewes with small lambs or 3 or more lambs to more sheltered paddocks or onto better pasture.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Ewes often seek out rams with large horns because to them, large horns mean they are successful in battles and in finding food.

[6]
.Sheep are frequently thought of as extremely unintelligent animals.^ The disease is extremely contagious and spreads easily among cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, and deer."

^ It is thought that, after the dog, sheep were possibly the second animal to be domesticated.
  • Sheep Camp 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ymccoll.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[43] A sheep's herd mentality and quickness to flee and panic in the face of stress often make shepherding a difficult endeavor for the uninitiated. Despite these perceptions, a University of Illinois monograph on sheep found them to be just below pigs and on par with cattle in IQ,[6] and some sheep have shown problem-solving abilities; a flock in West Yorkshire, England allegedly found a way to get over cattle grids by rolling on their backs, although documentation of this has relied on anecdotal accounts.[44] .In addition to long-term facial recognition of individuals, sheep can also differentiate emotional states through facial characteristics.^ Minimising the disease in the long term may involve breeding resistant strains of sheep.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Long-term solutions for problem flocks may include the use of footrot vaccine, selection for breeding of sheep with sound feet and culling problem sheep.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[41][42] If worked with patiently, sheep may learn their names, and many sheep are trained to be led by halter for showing and other purposes.[6] .Sheep have also responded well to clicker training.^ Electric fencing works well, too, but the sheep must be trained to respect it.

[6] .Very rarely, sheep are used as pack animals.^ Many types of dewormers, although very safe and effective, are not labelled for use in sheep.

^ Becoming more and more popular at this time are the rare and miniature farm animals: first were the mini horses, then the little pigs and now has come the time of the sheep.

^ Of all sheep horns, the best is from a Dorset Horn, very rare now as most of them are bred as polled sheep, but Blackface, Swaledale, Welsh Mountain and other hill sheep are suitable.
  • Sheep Camp 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ymccoll.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Tibetan nomads distribute baggage equally throughout a flock as it is herded between living sites.[6]

Reproduction

The second of twins being born on a New Zealand pasture
.Sheep follow a similar reproductive strategy to other herd animals.^ [Credits : © Sally Anne Thompson/Animal Photography] REFERENCED IN RELATED TO Aspects of the topic "sheep" are discussed in the following places at Britannica Assorted References .
  • sheep -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.britannica.com [Source type: Reference]

^ Following are similar likes and dislikes of the Sheep personality.
  • Chinese Horoscopes - The Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.usbridalguide.com [Source type: Original source]

^ Being registered means among other things, that this animal conforms to a Written Standard that all others of the same breed are following.

A group of ewes is generally mated by a single ram, who has either been chosen by a breeder or has established dominance through physical contest with other rams (in feral populations).[18] Most sheep are seasonal breeders, although some are able to breed year-round.[18] .Ewes generally reach sexual maturity at six to eight months of age, and rams generally at four to six months.^ Generally ewes reach puberty at 6 to 9 months of age and can conceive from this age.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Six to eight pounds of mixed grass and clover hay is sufficient to meet the daily energy requirements of a 250 pound ram.
  • Feeding Sheep - Virginia Cooperative Extension 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ext.vt.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[18] Ewes have estrus cycles about every 17 days,[45] during which they emit a scent and indicate readiness through physical displays towards rams. A minority of sheep display a preference for homosexuality (8% on average)[46] or are freemartins (female animals that are behaviorally masculine and lack functioning ovaries).[47]
Without human intervention, rams fight during the rut to determine which individuals may mate with ewes. .Rams, especially unfamiliar ones, will also fight outside the breeding period to establish dominance; rams can kill one another if allowed to mix freely.^ One ram may soon "blink," that is, close its eyes and not look at the opponent, a sure sign that he is about to lose the fight.

^ We have noticed that the rams that have been used for breeding no matter the age or size, large to very small will all stay in one flock.

^ Smothering occurs when sheep pile on top of one another in corners or at gateways especially when moving downhill.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[18] .During the rut, even normally friendly rams may become aggressive towards humans due to increases in their hormone levels.^ Intact rams that grow up without a fear of humans can become extremely dangerous creatures.

^ It may even be the leg of lamb that you have become accustom to at that dinner on special occasions.

^ But those with little human contact or those hunted and chased may become almost impossible to find, as they become extremely cautious.

[7]
After mating, sheep have a gestation period of about five months,[48] and normal labor may take one to three hours.[49] .Although some breeds may regularly throw larger litters of lambs, most produce single or twin lambs.^ Most births are single, although sheep do have twins on occasion.
  • sheep -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.britannica.com [Source type: Reference]

^ The active life span for some breeds may be more than double the modern or larger sheep.

^ Calcium to phosphorous ratios of less than 2:1 may lead to urinary calculi (water belly), which most often results in the death of the lamb.
  • Feeding Sheep - Virginia Cooperative Extension 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ext.vt.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[7][50] During or soon after labor, ewes and lambs may be confined to small lambing jugs,[51] small pens designed to aid both careful observation of ewes and to cement the bond between them and their lambs.[14][18]
A lamb's first steps
Ovine obstetrics can be problematic. .By selectively breeding ewes that produce multiple offspring with higher birth weights for generations, sheep producers have inadvertently caused some domestic sheep to have difficulty lambing; balancing ease of lambing with high productivity is one of the dilemmas of sheep breeding.^ Based on ewe weight at breeding time.
  • Feeding Sheep - Virginia Cooperative Extension 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ext.vt.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Decisions affecting feeding management are improved significantly by knowing ewe body weight and condition score at three distinct stages of production: 1) three weeks before breeding; 2) mid-gestation; and 3) weaning.
  • Feeding Sheep - Virginia Cooperative Extension 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ext.vt.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ (If your dog won't stop chasing the sheep, for example; or if your horse is intent on breeding ewes to death.

[52] .In the case of any such problems, those present at lambing may assist the ewe by extracting or repositioning lambs.^ The assistance may take the form of artificial rearing, fostering, moving ewes with small lambs or 3 or more lambs to more sheltered paddocks or onto better pasture.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ There are also mothering aids available such as sprays for the ewe’s muzzle to mask the smell of a strange lamb.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ It is also important to keep records of when ewes are bred, when they are due to lamb, the date and type of vaccinations, and the occurrence and specifics of any health problems.
  • Dairy Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.attra.org [Source type: General]

[18] .After the birth, ewes ideally break the amniotic sac (if it is not broken during labor), and begin licking clean the lamb.^ If a ewe requires help from the shepherd at lambing, the hands of the shepherd should be clean and the fingernails clean and short.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Management practices that allow ewes to remain on the birth site during this time will increase the chances of both bonding and lamb survival.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The ewe and lamb(s) may remain on the birth site for 12 hours or more.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[18] .Most lambs will begin standing within an hour of birth.^ Lambs should not be tagged within 24 hours of birth because of the risk of mismothering.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The ewe and lamb(s) may remain on the birth site for 12 hours or more.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ To help protect them from infectious diseases they require at least 200 ml of colostrum within 24 hours of birth.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[18] In normal situations, lambs nurse after standing, receiving vital colostrum milk. .Lambs that either fail to nurse or that are rejected by the ewe require aid to live, such as bottle-feeding or fostering by another ewe.^ If a ewe requires help from the shepherd at lambing, the hands of the shepherd should be clean and the fingernails clean and short.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The assistance may take the form of artificial rearing, fostering, moving ewes with small lambs or 3 or more lambs to more sheltered paddocks or onto better pasture.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Portable pens can be used to confine ewes and lambs to aid mothering-on.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[53]
After lambs are several weeks old, lamb marking (the process of ear tagging, docking, and castrating) is carried out.[18] Vaccinations are usually carried out at this point as well. .Ear tags with numbers are attached, or ear marks are applied for ease of later identification of sheep.^ Marking to aid identification of the sheep may involve applying raddle in the form ofchalk, crayon or spray.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Application for Registration Form printable application page click here Miniature and Novelty Sheep Breeders Association and Registry (M.N.S.B.A.R.) 1 )Name of Sheep:________________________________________________________ 2) Breed of Sheep: _____________________________________ Ear tag #________________ 3) Color and markings description: .

^ The number of tags used should be kept to a minimum, preferably not more than two per sheep.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.Castration is performed on ram lambs not intended for breeding, although some shepherds choose to avoid the procedure for ethical, economic or practical reasons.^ Abortion occurs during the last month of gestation, although some infected ewes produce dead or weak lambs at term.

^ A last-ditch effort might be to try castrating the adult ram; but unlike a young lamb, it's a fairly touchy operation for a fully-developed male.

^ Cow's milk isn't really the best food for a bottle lamb, although some people do get away with it.

[18] .Ram lambs that will either be slaughtered or separated from ewes before sexual maturity are not usually castrated.^ But we think that although it's possible for a ewe to lamb before she's 14 months old, that's pushing it a bit.

^ From breeding to six weeks before lambing, the ewe flock can be maintained on permanent pastures, small grain pastures, stockpiled fescue, aftermath crop fields, or hay.
  • Feeding Sheep - Virginia Cooperative Extension 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ext.vt.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ A last-ditch effort might be to try castrating the adult ram; but unlike a young lamb, it's a fairly touchy operation for a fully-developed male.

[14] .Docking, which is the shortening of a lamb's tail, is practised for health reasons.^ New Zealand research indicates that to minimise stress in the lambs, the techniques of choice for tail docking are the application of a rubber ring or the use of a hot searing iron.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ If tails are to be docked, the procedure should be carried out before the lambs are 6 weeks of age and must be carried out before they reach 12 weeks of age unless the procedure is carried out by a veterinarian using anaesthesia.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The docking of lambs’ tails is carried out to help prevent faecal dag formation and flystrike and to facilitate shearing .
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[54] .Objections to all these procedures have been raised by animal rights groups, but farmers defend them by saying they solve many practical and veterinary problems, and inflict only temporary pain.^ All these sheep once accepted will carry the 'A' sub-fix to let you know what level lines they have been bred from.

^ All of these materials can be ordered via the website at www.eradicatescrapie.org or by calling the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) at 270-782-9798.
  • Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office - Home 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.kysheepandgoat.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The procedure must be carried out only under veterinary supervision.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[7][18]

Health

A veterinarian draws blood to test for resistance to scrapie
.Sheep may fall victim to poisons, infectious diseases, and physical injuries.^ However, breeding for resistance to these diseases in certain populations of sheep means it may be necessary to allow the disease to express itself in these sheep.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ All sheep in which injury or disease is or seems likely to be causing severe or persistent pain, or distress, severe malaise or emaciation must be treated.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Poorly packed silage may contain harmful molds, which causes listeriosis (circling disease) in sheep.
  • Feeding Sheep - Virginia Cooperative Extension 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ext.vt.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.As a prey species, a sheep's system is adapted to hide the obvious signs of illness, to prevent being targeted by predators.^ Help the sheep industry by being part of the National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) 2011 Sheep study.
  • Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office - Home 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.kysheepandgoat.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ As well as being at less risk of flystrike, Merinos which have been "mulesed" are spared the frequent and often protracted mustering for flystrike preventive treatments necessary in alternative systems of control.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[7] .However, there are some obvious signs of ill health, with sick sheep eating little, vocalizing excessively, and being generally listless.^ Nutrition plays a major role in the overall productivity, health, and well-being of the sheep flock.
  • Feeding Sheep - Virginia Cooperative Extension 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ext.vt.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Mulesing is performed on some Merino sheep on a relatively small number of farms where sheep are farmed in very extensive systems and where there is a high risk of breech flystrike.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ When feed is lush and the weather cool, sheep generally require little or no drinking water.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[55] .Throughout history, much of the money and labor of sheep husbandry has aimed to prevent sheep ailments.^ Sheep throughout the world have gotten along with much less, sheep are a hardy species.

Historically, shepherds often created remedies by experimentation on the farm. .In some developed countries, including the United States, sheep lack the economic importance for drugs companies to perform expensive clinical trials required to approve drugs for ovine use.^ Some areas of the country lack markets for sheep milk.
  • Dairy Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.attra.org [Source type: General]

^ (If you are in a country OTHER than the United States, we urge you to contact your country's agricultural agencies for information which pertains specifically to your area.

^ "Sheep producer volunteers encouraged a yes vote in the referendum to keep this valuable tool alive in the fight for a piece of the meat market in the United States."
  • Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office - Home 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.kysheepandgoat.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[56] .In such instances, shepherds resort to illegal, extra-label usage of drugs approved for other animals.^ He/she can legally recommend extra-label use of products packaged for other species.

[7] .In the 20th and 21st centuries, a minority of sheep owners have turned to alternative treatments such as homeopathy, herbalism and even traditional Chinese medicine to treat sheep veterinary problems.^ Therefore, it is important to know if there are problems with certain alternative feeds, and to monitor the performance of the sheep flock once changes have been made.
  • Feeding Sheep - Virginia Cooperative Extension 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ext.vt.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The following brief comments are intended to provide some help in diagnosing, treating, and preventing some of the more prevalent health problems of sheep.

^ Sheep do get sick, but fewer would die if producers recognized that a problem existed, made the correct diagnosis, and treated sheep in the most effective manner.

[6][7] Despite some favorable anecdotal evidence, the effectiveness of alternative veterinary medicine has been met with skepticism in scientific journals.[6][7][57] The need for traditional anti-parasite drugs and antibiotics is widespread, and is the main impediment to certified organic farming with sheep.[18]
Many breeders take a variety of preventative measures to warn off problems. .The first is to ensure that all sheep are healthy when purchased.^ If at all possible, try to avoid a steady diet of horse formula as it usually contains more copper than is healthy for sheep.

^ When you purchase your first miniature sheep, you become part of that experience.

^ And all animals must be registered with the breeder's prefix as the first part of their sheep's name.

.Many buyers avoid outlets known to be clearing houses for animals culled from healthy flocks as either sick or simply inferior.^ Reduce mastitis by observing the following rules: Detect infected animals early; follow up with either a treatment or culling.
  • Dairy Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.attra.org [Source type: General]

[7] This can also mean maintaining a closed flock, and quarantining new sheep for a month. .Two fundamental preventative programs are maintaining good nutrition and reducing stress in the sheep.^ Two new versions of information on the National Scrapie Eradication Program (NSEP) is now available to American sheep and goat producers.
  • Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office - Home 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.kysheepandgoat.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Handling sheep in loud, erratic ways causes them to produce cortisol, a stress hormone. .This can lead to a weakened immune system, thus making sheep far more vulnerable to disease.^ Intensive sheep production systems where the sheep are housed and fed harvested feeds are not as profitable as more extensive production systems where they harvest their own feed.
  • Feeding Sheep - Virginia Cooperative Extension 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ext.vt.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ For more specific information about dairy sheep breeds, see Principles of sheep dairying in North America and System Solutions for Dairy Sheep ( Resources ).
  • Dairy Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.attra.org [Source type: General]

^ A sheep dairy that delivers consistent products in a developed market can be far more profitable than an operation focused only on meat production.
  • Dairy Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.attra.org [Source type: General]

[6] .Signs of stress in sheep include: excessive panting, teeth grinding, restless movement, wool eating, and wood chewing.^ The signs include listlessness, blindness, weakness, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, teeth grinding, weight loss, lameness, aimless wandering, abnormal posture or frequent lying down, loss of wool, coughing or panting and often separation from the flock.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Dirty sheep are cleaned in the meat plant yards by spray washing or swim washing and occasionally by removing dags and dirty wool, and this contributes to preslaughter stress.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[6] Avoiding poisoning is also important, common poisons are pesticide sprays, inorganic fertilizer, motor oil, as well as radiator coolant (the ethylene glycol antifreeze is sweet-tasting).[58]
A sheep infected with Orf, a disease transmittable to humans through skin contact
Common forms of preventive medication for sheep are vaccinations and treatments for parasites. .Both external and internal parasites are the most prevalent malady in sheep, and are either fatal, or reduce the productivity of flocks.^ The continual annoyance caused by either or both fly species can torment sheep to the point that their performance is considerably reduced.
  • Sheep Pocket Guide 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ag.ndsu.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Gastrointestinal parasitism, facial eczema and footrot are among the most common diseases in New Zealand and susceptibility to these diseases can be reduced by selective breeding.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Nutrition plays a major role in the overall productivity, health, and well-being of the sheep flock.
  • Feeding Sheep - Virginia Cooperative Extension 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ext.vt.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[7] Worms are the most common internal parasites. .They are ingested during grazing, incubate within the sheep, and are expelled through the digestive system (beginning the cycle again).^ After shearing sheep may be keen to get back to pasture, but without their wool they can be injured by crowding through gateways.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The amount of pasture available on each break should be sufficient to meet the needs of the sheep during the time they are on that break.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ It tends to occur in large groups of sheep if they move too rapidly and especially when sheep areforced into corners or through narrow gateways or when they rush to feed.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Oral anti-parasitic medicines known as drenches are given to a flock to treat worms, sometimes after worm eggs in the feces has been counted to assess infestation levels. .Afterwards, sheep may be moved to a new pasture to avoid ingesting the same parasites.^ (Goats and sheep share many of the same health problems, including internal parasites.
  • Dairy Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.attra.org [Source type: General]

^ Small children may be afraid of a standard size sheep, yet that same child will show an eagerness to embrace a miniature adult and lovingly hug a miniature lamb.

[14] External sheep parasites include: lice (for different parts of the body), sheep keds, nose bots, sheep itch mite, and maggots. .Keds are blood-sucking parasites that cause general malnutrition and decreased productivity, but are not fatal.^ Keds cause irritation by their blood-feeding.
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^ Pugh, 2002 ) Pneumonia causes losses from sick animals, reduced production, and decreased sales.
  • Dairy Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.attra.org [Source type: General]

^ Direct damage results from the bites of keds causing irritation and blood loss to the sheep.
  • Sheep Pocket Guide 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ag.ndsu.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Maggots are those of the bot fly and the blow-fly. Fly maggots cause the extremely destructive condition of flystrike. .Flies lay their eggs in wounds or wet, manure-soiled wool, when the maggots hatch they burrow into a sheep's flesh, eventually causing death if untreated.^ Blowflies generally lay eggs on soiled damp wool.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ A handful of companies are turning sheep's wool -- washed, carded, and sprayed with borax to deter pests and mold -- into precut batts of home insulation.
  • Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office - Home 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.kysheepandgoat.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ It tends to occur in large groups of sheep if they move too rapidly and especially when sheep areforced into corners or through narrow gateways or when they rush to feed.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

In addition to other treatments, crutching (shearing wool from a sheep's rump) is a common preventative method. Nose bots are flies that inhabit a sheep's sinuses, causing breathing difficulties and discomfort. Common signs are a discharge from the nasal passage, sneezing, and frantic movement such as head shaking. External parasites may be controlled through the use of backliners, sprays or immersive sheep dips.[7]
.A wide array of bacterial diseases affect sheep.^ Caseous lymphadenitis, which is caused by Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis , is a widely spread disease of mature sheep and a major reason for condemnation of ewe carcasses.

Diseases of the hoof, such as foot rot and foot scald may occur, and are treated with footbaths and other remedies. These painful conditions cause lameness and hinder feeding. Ovine Johne's disease is a wasting disease that affects young sheep. Bluetongue disease is an insect-borne illness causing fever and inflammation of the mucous membranes. Ovine rinderpest (or peste des petits ruminants) is a highly contagious and often fatal viral disease affecting sheep and goats.
.A few sheep conditions are transmittable to humans.^ Sheep in this condition are at the minimum acceptable standard for slaughter at a meat processing plant for human consumption.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Sheep in this condition are unsuitable for human consumption and require preferential treatment and should not be sent to a meat processing plant.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Orf (also known as scabby mouth, contagious ecthyma or soremouth) is a skin disease leaving lesions that is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. .More seriously, the organisms that can cause spontaneous enzootic abortion in sheep are easily transmitted to pregnant women.^ In sheep it causes abortion, encephalitis, and pneumonitis.

^ It was first isolated in sheep in 1942 and has become the most frequently diagnosed cause of abortion in sheep since then.

^ Sheep should not be kept on their side or back for more than a few minutes at a time especially if the rumen is full or if they are heavily pregnant.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Also of concern are the prion disease scrapie and the virus that causes foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), as both can devastate flocks. The latter poses a slight risk to humans. .During the 2001 FMD pandemic in the UK, hundreds of sheep were culled and some rare British breeds were at risk of extinction due to this.^ The active life span for some breeds may be more than double the modern or larger sheep.

^ Mulesing is performed on some Merino sheep on a relatively small number of farms where sheep are farmed in very extensive systems and where there is a high risk of breech flystrike.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Still others keep, raise and breed these sheep as part of an ongoing rare breeds survival effort.

[7]

Predation

A lamb being attacked by coyotes with the most typical method, a bite to the throat
Other than parasites and disease, predation is a threat to sheep and the profitability of sheep raising. .Sheep have little ability to defend themselves, compared with other species kept as livestock.^ Do sheep carry any diseases that are transmissible to other species and/or to humans?

^ As a general rule, sheep should not be kept isolated from other sheep for any longer than necessary because they become distressed if left alone.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ That is this group's focus, not to change any breed, but to save the already increasing numbers of sheep that might, for no other reason be kept from any other registration systems.

.Even if sheep survive an attack, they may die from their injuries, or simply from panic.^ Our sheep come a running by simply calling them no feed needed, they really like us.

^ They all try to sniff and follow the new little members of the herd and may even try to steal them away from a busy new mom.

^ Something they can not get with even fewer of the larger sheep.

[7] However, the impact of predation varies dramatically with region. In Africa, Australia, the Americas, and parts of Europe and Asia predators are a serious problem. .In the United States, for instance, over 1/3 of sheep deaths in 2004 were caused by predation.^ "Sheep producer volunteers encouraged a yes vote in the referendum to keep this valuable tool alive in the fight for a piece of the meat market in the United States."
  • Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office - Home 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.kysheepandgoat.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Changes in the Sheep Industry in the United States: ...
  • Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office - Home 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.kysheepandgoat.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[59] .In contrast, other nations are virtually devoid of sheep predators, particularly islands known for extensive sheep husbandry.^ It is particularly important to bleed sheep promptly when using this shooting position as they have been known to regain consciousness quickly.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[7] Worldwide, canids—including the domestic dog—are responsible for most sheep deaths.[60][61][62] Other animals that occasionally prey on sheep include: felines, bears, birds of prey, ravens and feral hogs.[59][63]
.Sheep producers have used a wide variety of measures to combat predation.^ Wool breeds of sheep produce a wide variety of wool types and textures from coarse long to the very, very fine.

^ So you see, there are a very wide variety of sheep available to the interested.

^ East Friesian and Lacaune sheep are commonly found in dairy flocks in the U.S. Many producers use various crosses of these breeds with domestic American breeds.
  • Dairy Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.attra.org [Source type: General]

Pre-modern shepherds used their own presence, livestock guardian dogs, and protective structures such as barns and fencing. Fencing (both regular and electric), penning sheep at night and lambing indoors all continue to be widely used.[18] More modern shepherds used guns, traps, and poisons to kill predators,[64] causing significant decreases in predator populations. .In the wake of the environmental and conservation movements, the use of these methods now usually falls under the purview of specially designated government agencies in most developed countries .^ We have routinely exposed well-developed spring lambs the following fall, and most (not all) of them catch; but it's usually the case of a February-born ewe breeding successfully for June lambs.

^ When sheep are killed on the farm for home consumption or for dog food or because they are old, injured or diseased, the most humane method available should be used.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[65]
.The 1970s saw a resurgence in the use of livestock guardian dogs and the development of new methods of predator control by sheep producers, many of them non-lethal.^ Dogs used during lambing must be under strict control.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ There are also many articles about various parlors and methods of milking in the Proceedings of the Great Lakes Dairy Sheep Symposium (see Resources ).
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^ A prospective dairy-sheep producer faces many potential challenges.
  • Dairy Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.attra.org [Source type: General]

[14] Donkeys and guard llamas have been used since the 1980s in sheep operations, using the same basic principle as livestock guardian dogs.[7] .Interspecific pasturing, usually with larger livestock such as cattle or horses, may help to deter predators, even if such species do not actively guard sheep.^ The active life span for some breeds may be more than double the modern or larger sheep.

^ It may even be the leg of lamb that you have become accustom to at that dinner on special occasions.

^ Mineral supplements formulated for cattle and horses should not be used for sheep because they are high in copper, which is toxic to sheep.
  • Feeding Sheep - Virginia Cooperative Extension 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.ext.vt.edu [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[18] .In addition to animal guardians, contemporary sheep operations may use non-lethal predator deterrents such as motion-activated lights and noisy alarms.^ Under certain conditions the animal may be killed on the farm by a veterinarian or licensed pet food operator for use as pet food (see the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee’s Code of Recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Animals Transported within New Zealand).
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The disease is extremely contagious and spreads easily among cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, and deer."

^ In addition, a national group can work on issues such as animal health products, predator control, research goals and state public policy.
  • Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office - Home 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.kysheepandgoat.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[7]

History

A male Mouflon, thought to be the primary ancestor of domestic sheep
Sheep were among the first animals to be domesticated by humankind; sources provide a domestication date between nine and eleven thousand years ago in Mesopotamia.[3][6][7][66] Their wild relatives have several characteristics—such as a relative lack of aggression, a manageable size, early sexual maturity, a social nature, and high reproduction rates—which made them particularly suitable for domestication.[34] Today, Ovis aries is an entirely domesticated animal that is largely dependent on man for its health and survival.[67] Feral sheep do exist, but exclusively in areas devoid of large predators (usually islands) and not on the scale of feral horses, goats, pigs, or dogs, although some feral populations have remained isolated long enough to be recognized as distinct breeds.[34][68]
The exact line of descent between domestic sheep to their wild ancestors is presently unclear.[69] The most common hypothesis states that Ovis aries is descended from the Asiatic (O. orientalis) species of mouflon. It has been proposed that the European mouflon (O. musimon) is an ancient breed of domestic sheep turned feral rather than an ancestor, despite it commonly being cited as ancestor in past literature.[3] A few breeds of sheep, such as the Castlemilk Moorit from Scotland, were formed through crossbreeding with wild European mouflon.
The urial (O. vignei) was once thought to have been a forebear of domestic sheep, as they occasionally interbreed with mouflon in the Iranian part of their range.[3] However, the urial, argali (O. ammon), and snow sheep (O. nivicola) have a different number of chromosomes than other Ovis species, making a direct relationship implausible, and phylogenetic studies show no evidence of urial ancestry.[69] Further studies comparing European and Asian breeds of sheep showed significant genetic differences between the two. Two explanations for this phenomenon have been posited. The first is that there is a currently unknown species or subspecies of wild sheep that contributed to the formation of domestic sheep.[70] A second hypothesis suggests that this variation is the result of multiple waves of capture from wild mouflon, similar to the known development of other livestock.[71]
A 1st century CE relief of a bull, a sheep and a pig being led to sacrifice in Rome
Initially, sheep were kept solely for meat, milk and skins. Archaeological evidence from statuary found at sites in Iran suggests that selection for woolly sheep may have begun around 6000 BC,[3][6] but the earliest woven wool garments have only been dated to two to three thousand years later.[72] By that span of the Bronze Age, sheep with all the major features of modern breeds were widespread throughout Western Asia.[3] However, one chief difference between ancient sheep and modern breeds is the technique by which wool could be collected. Primitive sheep cannot be shorn, and must have their wool plucked out by hand in a process called "rooing". This is because fibers called kemps are still longer than the soft fleece. The fleece may also be collected from the field after it falls out. This trait survives today in unrefined breeds such as the Soay and many Shetlands. Indeed, the Soay, along with other Northern European breeds with short tails, unshearable fleece, diminutive size, and horns in both sexes, are closely related to ancient sheep. Originally, weaving and spinning wool was a handicraft practiced at home, rather than an industry. Babylonians, Sumerians, and Persians all depended on sheep; and although linen was the first fabric to be fashioned in to clothing, wool was a prized product. The raising of flocks for their fleece was one of the earliest industries, and flocks were a medium of exchange in barter economies. Numerous biblical figures kept large flocks, and subjects of the king of Israel were taxed according to the number of rams they owned.[3]

In Africa

Sheep entered the African continent not long after their domestication in western Asia.[73] A minority of historians once posited a contentious African theory of origin for Ovis aries.[73] This theory is based primarily on rock art interpretations, and osteological evidence from Barbary sheep.[73] The first sheep entered North Africa via Sinai, and were present in ancient Egyptian society between eight and seven thousand years ago.[73] Sheep have always been part of subsistence farming in Africa, but today the only country that keeps an influential number of commercial sheep is South Africa. South African sheep producers, in an attempt to deal with the numerous predators of Africa, invented the livestock protection collar, which holds poison at the jugular to sicken or kill predators.[3]

In Europe

A depiction of a ram from the Aberdeen Bestiary, a 12th-century illuminated manuscript
A ram from Liber medicinae ex animalibus, a Lombardy medical manuscript, ca. 1400
From Southwest Asia, sheep husbandry spread quickly in to Europe. Practically from its inception, ancient Greek civilization relied on sheep as primary livestock, and were even said to name individual animals.[6] Scandinavian sheep of a type seen today — with short tails and multi-colored fleece — were also present early on. Later, the Roman Empire kept sheep on a wide scale, and the Romans were an important agent in the spread of sheep raising throughout the continent. Pliny the Elder, in his Natural History (Naturalis Historia), speaks at length about sheep and wool.[74] Declaring "Many thanks, too, do we owe to the sheep, both for appeasing the gods, and for giving us the use of its fleece.", he goes on to detail the breeds of ancient sheep and the many colors, lengths and qualities of wool.[74] Romans also pioneered the practice of blanketing sheep, in which a fitted coat (today usually of nylon) is placed over the sheep to improve the cleanliness and luster of its wool.[3]
During the Roman occupation of the British Isles, a large wool processing factory was established in Winchester, England in about 50 AD.[6] By 1000 AD, England and Spain were recognized as the twin centers of sheep production in the Western world.[3][6] As the original breeders of the fine-wooled merino sheep that have historically dominated the wool trade, the Spanish gained great wealth. Wool money largely financed Spanish rulers and thus the voyages to the New World by conquistadors.[6] The powerful Mesta (its full title was Honrado Concejo de la Mesta, the Honorable Council of the Mesta) was a corporation of sheep owners mostly drawn from Spain's wealthy merchants, Catholic clergy and nobility that controlled the merino flocks.[75] By the 17th century, the Mesta held in upwards of two million head of merino sheep.[75]
Mesta flocks followed a seasonal pattern of transhumance across Spain. In the spring, they left the winter pastures (invernaderos) in Extremadura and Andalusia to graze on their summer pastures (agostaderos) in Castile, returning again in the autumn.[75] Spanish rulers eager to increase wool profits gave extensive legal rights to the Mesta, often to the detriment of local peasantry.[75] The huge merino flocks had a lawful right of way for their migratory routes (cañadas). Towns and villages were obliged by law to let the flocks graze on their common land, and the Mesta had its own sheriffs that could summon offending individuals to its own tribunals.[75]
Sheep are often identified by farmers by using a paint mark called a raddle.
Exportation of merinos without royal permission was also a punishable offense, thus ensuring a near-absolute monopoly on the breed until the mid-18th century. After the breaking of the export ban, fine wool sheep began to be distributed worldwide. The export to Rambouillet by Louis XVI in 1786 formed the basis for the modern Rambouillet (or French Merino) breed.[76] After the Napoleonic Wars and the global distribution of the once-exclusive Spanish stocks of Merinos, sheep raising in Spain reverted to hardy coarse-wooled breeds such as the Churra, and was no longer of international economic significance.
The sheep industry in Spain was an instance of migratory flock management, with large homogenous flocks ranging over the entire nation. The management model used in England was quite different but had a similar importance to economy of the British Empire. Up until the early 20th century, owling (the smuggling of sheep or wool out of the country) was a punishable offense, and to this day the Lord Speaker of the House of Lords sits on a cushion known as the Woolsack.
The high concentration and more sedentary nature of shepherding in the UK allowed sheep especially adapted to their particular purpose and region to be raised, thereby giving rise to an exceptional variety of breeds in relation to the land mass of the country.[3] This greater variety of breeds also produced a valuable variety of products to compete with the superfine wool of Spanish sheep. By the time of Elizabeth I's rule, sheep and wool trade was the primary source of tax revenue to the Crown of England and the country was a major influence in the development and spread of sheep husbandry.[3][77]
An important event not only in the history of domestic sheep, but of all livestock, was the work of Robert Bakewell in the 1700s. Before his time, breeding for desirable traits was often based on chance, with no scientific process for selection of breeding stock. Bakewell established the principles of selective breeding—especially line breeding—in his work with sheep, horses and cattle; his work later influenced Gregor Mendel and Charles Darwin.[6][78] His most important contribution to sheep was the development of the Leicester Longwool, a quick-maturing breed of blocky conformation that formed the basis for many vital modern breeds.[7] Today, the sheep industry in the UK has diminished significantly,[79] though pedigreed rams can still fetch around 100,000 Pounds sterling at auction.[80][81]

In the Americas

Sheep grazing on the south lawn of the White House c. 1918
No ovine species native to the Americas has ever been domesticated, despite being closer genetically to domestic sheep than many Asian and European species. The first domestic sheep in North America—most likely of the Churra breed—arrived with Christopher Columbus' second voyage in 1493.[3][6] The next transatlantic shipment to arrive was with Hernán Cortés in 1519, landing in Mexico.[3] No export of wool or animals is known to have occurred from these populations, but flocks did disseminate throughout what is now Mexico and the Southwest United States with Spanish colonists.[6] Churras were also introduced to the Navajo tribe of Native Americans, and became a key part of their livelihood and culture. The modern presence of the Navajo-Churro breed is a result of this heritage.[18]

North America

The next transport of sheep to North America was not until 1607, with the voyage of the HMS Susan Conant to Virginia.[3] However, the sheep that arrived in that year were all slaughtered because of a famine, and a permanent flock was not to reach the colony until two years later in 1609.[3] In two decades time, the colonists had expanded their flock to a total of 400 head. By the 1640s there were about 100,000 head of sheep in the 13 colonies, and in 1662, a woolen mill was built in Watertown, Massachusetts.[3][6] Especially during the periods of political unrest and civil war in Britain spanning the 1640s and 50s which disrupted maritime trade, the colonists found it pressing to produce wool for clothing.[82] Many islands off the coast were cleared of predators and set aside for sheep: Nantucket, Long Island, Martha's Vineyard and small islands in Boston Harbor were notable examples.[82] There remain some rare breeds of American sheep—such as the Hog Island sheep—that were the result of island flocks. Placing semi-feral sheep and goats on islands was common practice in colonization during this period.[82] Early on, the British government banned further export of sheep to the Americas, or wool from it, in an attempt to stifle any threat to the wool trade in the British Isles. One of many restrictive trade measures that precipitated the American Revolution, the sheep industry in the Northeast grew despite the bans.[3]
A large sheep farm in Chile.
Gradually, beginning in the 1800s, sheep production in the U.S. moved westward. Today, the vast majority of flocks reside on Western range lands. During this westward migration of the industry, competition between sheep (sometime called "range maggots") and cattle operations grew more heated, eventually erupting into range wars.[83] Other than simple competition for grazing and water rights, cattlemen believed that the secretions of the foot glands of sheep made cattle unwilling to graze on places where sheep had stepped.[11][15] As sheep production centered on the U.S. western ranges, it became associated with other parts of Western culture, such as the rodeo. In modern America, a minor event in rodeos is mutton busting, in which children compete to see who can stay atop a sheep the longest before falling off. Another effect of the westward movement of sheep flocks in North America was the decline of wild species such as Bighorn sheep (O. canadesis). Most diseases of domestic sheep are transmittable to wild ovines, and such diseases, along with overgrazing and habitat loss, are named as primary factors in the plummeting numbers of wild sheep.[84] Sheep production peaked in North America during 1940s and 50s at more than 55 million head.[6] Henceforth and continuing today, the number of sheep in North America has steadily declined with wool prices and the lessening American demand for sheep meat.[7]

South America

In South America, especially in Patagonia, there is an active modern sheep industry.[85] Sheep keeping was largely introduced through immigration to the continent by Spanish and British peoples, for whom sheep were a major industry during the period.[86] South America has a large number of sheep, but the highest-producing nation (Brazil) kept only just over 15 million head in 2004, far fewer than most centers of sheep husbandry.[87] The primary challenges to the sheep industry in South America are the phenomenal drop in wool prices in the late 20th century and the loss of habitat through logging and overgrazing.[88] The most influential region internationally is that of Patagonia, which has been the first to rebound from the fall in wool prices.[85][86] With few predators and almost no grazing competition (the only large native grazing mammal is the guanaco), the region is prime land for sheep raising.[86] The most exceptional area of production is surrounding the La Plata river in the Pampas region.[3] Sheep production in Patagonia peaked in 1952 at more than 21 million head, but has steadily fallen to fewer than ten today.[86] Most operations focus on wool production for export from Merino and Corriedale sheep; the economic sustainability of wool flocks has fallen with the drop in prices, while the cattle industry continues to grow.[86]
A New Zealand Merino

In Australia and New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand are crucial players in the contemporary sheep industry, and sheep are an iconic part of both countries' culture and economy. New Zealand has the highest density of sheep per capita (sheep outnumber the human population 12 to 1), and Australia is the world's indisputably largest exporter of sheep and cattle.[89] In 2007, New Zealand even declared 15 February their official National Lamb Day to celebrate the country's history of sheep production.[90]
The First Fleet brought the initial population of 70 sheep from the Cape of Good Hope to Australia in 1788.[91] The next shipment was of 30 sheep from Calcutta and Ireland in 1793.[91] All of the early sheep brought to Australia were exclusively used for the dietary needs of the penal colonies. The beginnings of the Australian wool industry were due to the vision and efforts of Captain John Macarthur.[91] At Macarthur's urging 16 Spanish merinos were imported in 1797, effectively beginning the Australian sheep industry.[91] By 1801 Macarthur had 1,000 head of sheep, and in 1803 he exported 111 kilograms (245 lb) of wool to England.[91] Today, Macarthur is generally thought of as the father of the Australian sheep industry.[91]
The growth of the sheep industry in Australia was explosive. In 1820, the continent held 100,000 sheep, a decade later it had one million.[92] By 1840, New South Wales alone kept 4 million sheep; flock numbers grew to 13 million in a decade.[92] While much of the growth in both nations was due to the active support of Britain in its desire for wool, both worked independently to develop new high-production breeds: the Corriedale, Coolalee, Coopworth, Perendale, Polwarth, Booroola Merino, Peppin Merino, and Poll Merino were all created in New Zealand or Australia.[7] Wool production was a fitting industry for colonies far from their home nations. Before the advent of fast air and maritime shipping, wool was one of the few viable products that was not subject to spoiling on the long passage back to British ports.[92] The abundant new land and milder winter weather of the region also aided the growth of the Australian and New Zealand sheep industries.[92]
Flocks in Australia have always been largely range bands on fenced land, and are aimed at production of medium to superfine wool for clothing and other products as well as meat. New Zealand flocks are kept in a fashion similar to English ones, in fenced holdings without shepherds. Although wool was once the primary income source for New Zealand sheep owners (especially during the New Zealand wool boom), today it has shifted to meat production for export.[3][93]

Animal welfare concerns

The Australian sheep industry is the only sector of the industry to receive international criticism for its practices. Sheep stations in Australia are cited in Animal Liberation, the seminal book of the animal rights movement, as the author's primary evidence in his argument against retaining sheep as a part of animal agriculture.[94] The practice of mulesing, in which skin is cut away from an animal's perineal area to prevent cases of the fatal condition flystrike, has been condemned by PETA as being painful and unnecessary.[95] In response, a program of phasing out mulesing is currently being implemented,[96] and some mulesing operations are being carried out with the use of anaesthetic.[97] .The Animal Welfare Advisory Committee to the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture Code of recommendations and minimum standards for the welfare of Sheep, considers mulesing a "special technique" which is performed on some Merino sheep at a small number of farms in New Zealand.^ It was written by a working group established by the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Code of recommendations and minimum standards for the welfare of Sheep .
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The Code is a comprehensive revision of the Code of Recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep published in 1992.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[98]
Most of the sheep meat exported from Australia is either frozen carcases to the UK or is live export to the Middle East. Shipped on livestock carriers in what has been called crowded, unsafe conditions by critics, live sheep are desired by Middle Eastern nations to meet the requirements of ritual halal slaughter.[99] Opponents of the export—such as PETA—say that sheep exported to countries outside the jurisdiction of Australia's animal cruelty laws are treated with horrendous brutality and that halal facilities exist in Australia to make export of live animals redundant.[99] A few celebrities and companies have pledged to boycott all Australian sheep products in protest.[100]

Economic importance

Global sheep stocks
in 2004
(million)
 China 157.9
 Australia 101.3
 India 62.5
 Iran 54.0
 Sudan 48.0
 New Zealand 39.2
 United Kingdom 35.8
 South Africa 25.3
World Total 1,059.8
Source:
UN Food & Agriculture Organisation
(FAO)
Sheep are an important part of the global agricultural economy. However, their once-vital status has been largely replaced by other livestock species, especially the pig, chicken, and cow.[14] China, Australia, India, and Iran have the largest modern flocks, and serve both local and exportation needs for wool and mutton.[101] Other countries such as New Zealand have smaller flocks but retain a large international economic impact due to their export of sheep products. Sheep also play a major role in many local economies, which may be niche markets focused on organic or sustainable agriculture and local food customers.[6][102] Especially in developing countries, such flocks may be a part of subsistence agriculture rather than a system of trade. Sheep themselves may be a medium of trade in barter economies.[6]
Domestic sheep provide a wide array of raw materials. Wool was one of the first textiles, although in the late 20th century wool prices began to fall dramatically as the result of the popularity and cheap prices for synthetic fabrics.[6] For many sheep owners, the cost of shearing is greater than the possible profit from the fleece, making subsisting on wool production alone practically impossible without farm subsidies.[6] Fleeces are used as material in making alternative products such as wool insulation.[103] In the 21st century, the sale of meat is the most profitable enterprise in the sheep industry, even though far less sheep meat is consumed than chicken, pork or beef.[14]
Sheepskin is likewise used for making clothes, footwear, rugs, and other products. Byproducts from the slaughter of sheep are also of value: sheep tallow can be used in candle and soap making, sheep bone and cartilage has been used to furnish carved items such as dice and buttons as well as rendered glue and gelatin.[104] Sheep intestine can be formed into sausage casings, and lamb intestine has been formed into surgical sutures, as well as strings for musical instruments and tennis rackets.[3] Sheep droppings, which are high in cellulose, have even been sterilized and mixed with traditional pulp materials to make paper.[105] Of all sheep byproducts, perhaps the most valuable is lanolin: the water-proof, fatty substance found naturally in sheep's wool and used as a base for innumerable cosmetics and other products.[3]
Some farmers who keep sheep also make a profit from live sheep. Providing lambs for youth programs such as 4-H and competition at agricultural shows is often a dependable avenue for the sale of sheep.[106] Farmers may also choose to focus on a particular breed of sheep in order to sell registered purebred animals, as well as provide a ram rental service for breeding.[107] The most valuable sheep ever sold to date was a purebred Texel ram that fetched £231,000 at auction.[108] The previous record holder was a Merino ram sold for £205,000 in 1989.[108] A new option for deriving profit from live sheep is the rental of flocks for grazing; these "mowing services" are hired in order to keep unwanted vegetation down in public spaces and to lessen fire hazard.[109]
Despite the falling demand and price for sheep products in many markets, sheep have distinct economic advantages when compared with other livestock. They do not require the expensive housing,[110] such as that used in the intensive farming of chickens or pigs. They are an efficient use of land; roughly six sheep can be kept on the amount that would suffice for a single cow or horse.[7][111] Sheep can also consume plants, such as noxious weeds, that most other animals will not touch, and produce more young at a faster rate.[112] Also, in contrast to most livestock species, the cost of raising sheep is not necessarily tied to the price of feed crops such as grain, soybeans and corn.[113] Combined with the lower cost of quality sheep, all these factors combine to equal a lower overhead for sheep producers, thus entailing a higher profitability potential for the small farmer.[113] Sheep are especially beneficial for independent producers, including family farms with limited resources, as the sheep industry is one of the few types of animal agriculture that has not been vertically integrated by agribusiness.[114]

As food

Shoulder of lamb
Sheep meat and milk were one of the earliest staple proteins consumed by human civilization after the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture.[7] Sheep meat prepared for food is known as either mutton or lamb. "Mutton" is derived from the Old French moton, which was the word for sheep used by the Anglo-Norman rulers of much of the British Isles in the Middle Ages. This became the name for sheep meat in English, while the Old English word sceap was kept for the live animal.[115] Throughout modern history, "mutton" has been limited to the meat of mature sheep usually at least two years of age; "lamb" is used for that of immature sheep less than a year.[116][117][118]
In the 21st century, the nations with the highest consumption of sheep meat are the Persian Gulf states, New Zealand, Australia, Greece, Uruguay, the United Kingdom and Ireland.[6] These countries eat 14–40 lbs (3–18 kg) of sheep meat per capita, per annum.[6][118] Sheep meat is also popular in France, Africa (especially the Maghreb), the Caribbean, the rest of the Middle East, India, and parts of China.[118] This often reflects a past history of sheep production. In these countries in particular, dishes comprising alternative cuts and offal may be popular or traditional. Sheep testicles—called animelles or lamb fries—are considered a delicacy in many parts of the world. Perhaps the most unusual dish of sheep meat is the Scottish haggis, composed of various sheep innards cooked along with oatmeal and chopped onions inside its stomach.[119] In comparison, countries such as the U.S. consume only a pound or less (under 0.5 kg), with Americans eating 50 pounds (22 kg) of pork and 65 pounds (29 kg) of beef.[118] In addition, such countries rarely eat mutton, and may favor the more expensive cuts of lamb: mostly lamb chops and leg of lamb.[6]
Though sheep's milk may be drunk rarely in fresh form,[120] today it is used predominantly in cheese and yogurt making. Sheep have only two teats, and produce a far smaller volume of milk than cows.[7] However, as sheep's milk contains far more fat, solids, and minerals than cow's milk, it is ideal for the cheese-making process.[20] It also resists contamination during cooling better because of its much higher calcium content.[20] Well-known cheeses made from sheep milk include the Feta of Bulgaria and Greece, Roquefort of France, Manchego from Spain, the Pecorino Romano (the Italian word for sheep is pecore) and Ricotta of Italy. Yogurts, especially some forms of strained yogurt, may also be made from sheep milk.[121] Many of these products are now often made with cow's milk, especially when produced outside their country of origin.[6] Sheep milk contains 4.8% lactose, which may affect those who are intolerant.[6]

In science

A cloned ewe named Dolly was a scientific landmark.
Sheep are generally too large and reproduce too slowly to make ideal research subjects, and thus are not a common model organism.[122] .They have, however, played an influential role in some fields of science.^ However, under some circumstances, grassland farming may put the welfare of sheep at risk as they may be exposed to inclement weather.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

In particular, the Roslin Institute of Edinburgh, Scotland used sheep for genetics research that produced groundbreaking results. In 1995, two ewes named Megan and Morag were the first mammals cloned from differentiated cells. A year later, a Finnish Dorset sheep named Dolly, dubbed "the world's most famous sheep" in Scientific American,[123] was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell. Following this, Polly and Molly were the first mammals to be simultaneously cloned and transgenic. As of 2008, the sheep genome has not been fully sequenced, although a detailed genetic map has been published,[124] and a draft version of the complete genome produced by assembling sheep DNA sequences using information given by the genomes of other mammals.[125]
In the study of natural selection, the population of Soay sheep that remain on the island of Hirta have been used to explore the relation of body size and coloration to reproductive success.[126] .Soay sheep come in several colors, and researchers investigated why the larger, darker sheep were in decline; this occurrence contradicted the rule of thumb that larger members of a population tend to be more successful reproductively.^ The active life span for some breeds may be more than double the modern or larger sheep.

^ Becoming more and more popular at this time are the rare and miniature farm animals: first were the mini horses, then the little pigs and now has come the time of the sheep.

^ Many people interested in only a spinning flock find several small sheep, give them more choices.

[127] .The feral Soays on Hirta are especially useful subjects because they are isolated.^ When sheep are killed on the farm for home consumption or for dog food or because they are old, injured or diseased, the most humane method available should be used.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ As a general rule, sheep should not be kept isolated from other sheep for any longer than necessary because they become distressed if left alone.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[128]
.Sheep are one of the few animals where the molecular basis of the diversity of male sexual preferences has been examined.^ Sheep are an even tempered animal and are naturally social so you should always have more than one; that's not a problem because one is never enough!

^ Small sheep are one of the safest of all farm animals for even the smallest of children to raise and handle.

^ Every sheep farmer should have an animal health programme, preferably documented, and developed in consultation with a veterinarian.
  • Code of recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Sheep | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.biosecurity.govt.nz [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[129] However, this research has been controversial, and much publicity has been produced by a study at the Oregon Health and Science University that investigated the mechanisms that produce homosexuality in rams. Organizations such as PETA campaigned against the study, accusing scientists of trying to cure homosexuality in the sheep.[46] OHSU and the involved scientists vehemently denied such accusations.[46]
A 1979 Faroese stamp by Czesław Słania. Sheep are the heraldic animal of the Faroes ("Sheep Islands").
.Domestic sheep are sometimes used in medical research, particularly for researching cardiovascular physiology, in areas such as hypertension and heart failure.^ We don't advise using such feeds for sheep, as they usually contain too much copper.

^ East Friesian and Lacaune sheep are commonly found in dairy flocks in the U.S. Many producers use various crosses of these breeds with domestic American breeds.
  • Dairy Sheep 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.attra.org [Source type: General]

^ The Kentucky Sheep and Wool Producers Association and the Kentucky Goat Producers Association will administer the funds in the areas of promotion, consumer information, producer communication, industry information and research.
  • Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office - Home 17 January 2010 8:53 UTC www.kysheepandgoat.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[130][131] Pregnant sheep are also a useful model for human pregnancy,[132] and have been used to investigate the effects on fetal development of malnutrition and hypoxia.[133] In behavioral sciences, sheep have been used in isolated cases for the study of facial recognition, as their mental process of recognition is qualitatively similar to humans.[134]

Cultural impact

Sheep have had a strong presence in many cultures, especially in areas where they form the most common type of livestock. In the English language, to call someone a sheep or ovine may allude that they are timid and easily led, if not outright stupid.[135] In contradiction to this image, male sheep are often used as symbols of virility and power, such as for the St. Louis Rams and the Dodge Ram. Sheep are key symbols in fables and nursery rhymes like The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, Little Bo Peep, Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, and Mary Had a Little Lamb. Novels such as George Orwell's Animal Farm, Haruki Murakami's A Wild Sheep Chase, Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd and Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story utilize sheep as characters or plot devices. Poems like William Blake's "The Lamb", songs such as Pink Floyd's Sheep and Bach's aria Sheep may safely graze (Schafe können sicher weiden) use sheep for metaphorical purposes. In more recent popular culture, the 2007 film Black Sheep exploits sheep for horror and comedic effect, ironically turning them into blood-thirsty killers.
The proverbial black sheep
Counting sheep is popularly said to be an aid to sleep, and some ancient systems of counting sheep persist today. Sheep also enter in colloquial sayings and idiom frequently with such phrases as "black sheep". To call an individual a black sheep implies that they are an odd or disreputable member of a group.[136] This usage derives from the recessive trait that causes an occasional black lamb to be born in to an entirely white flock. These black sheep were considered undesirable by shepherds, as black wool is not as commercially viable as white wool.[136] Citizens who accept overbearing governments have been referred to by the Portmanteau neologism of sheeple. Somewhat differently, the adjective "sheepish" is also used to describe embarrassment.[137]

In religion and folklore

In antiquity, symbolism involving sheep cropped up in religions in the ancient Near East, the Mideast, and the Mediterranean area: Çatalhöyük, ancient Egyptian religion, the Cana'anite and Phoenician tradition, Judaism, Greek religion, and others. Religious symbolism and ritual involving sheep began with some of the first known faiths: skulls of rams (along with bulls) occupied central placement in shrines at the Çatalhöyük settlement in 8,000 BCE.[138] In Ancient Egyptian religion, the ram was the symbol of several gods: Khnum, Heryshaf and Amun (in his incarnation as a god of fertility).[6] Other deities occasionally shown with ram features include: the goddess Ishtar, the Phoenician god Baal-Hamon, and the Babylonian god Ea-Oannes.[6] In Madagascar, sheep were not eaten as they were believed to be incarnations of the souls of ancestors.[139]
There are also many ancient Greek references to sheep: that of Chrysomallos, the golden-fleeced ram, continuing to be told through into the modern era. Astrologically, Aries, the ram, is the first sign of the classical Greek zodiac and the sheep is also the eighth of the twelve animals associated with the 12-year cycle of in the Chinese zodiac, related to the Chinese calendar.[139] In Mongolia, shagai are an ancient form of dice made from the cuboid bones of sheep that are often used for fortunetelling purposes.
A ram's horn shofar
Sheep play an important role in all the Abrahamic faiths; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Muhammad and King David were all shepherds. According to the story of the Binding of Isaac, a ram is sacrificed as a substitute for Isaac after an angel stays Abraham's hand. Eid al-Adha is a major annual festival in Islam in which sheep (or other animals) are sacrificed in remembrance of this act.[140][141] Sheep are also occasionally sacrificed to commemorate important secular events in Islamic cultures.[142] Greeks and Romans also sacrificed sheep regularly in religious practice, and Judaism also once sacrificed sheep as a Korban (sacrifice), such as the Passover lamb .[139] Ovine symbols—such as the ceremonial blowing of a shofar—still find a presence in modern Judaic traditions. Followers of Christianity are collectively often referred to as a flock, with Christ as the Good Shepherd, and sheep are an element in the Christian iconography of the birth of Jesus. Some Christian saints are considered patrons of shepherds, and even of sheep themselves. Christ is also portrayed as the Sacrificial lamb of God (Agnus Dei) and Easter celebrations in Greece and Romania traditionally feature a meal of Paschal lamb.

See also

Footnotes

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References

  • Budiansky, Stephen (1999). The Covenant of the Wild: Why animals chose domestication. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300079931. 
  • Ensminger, Dr. M.E.; Dr. R.O. Parker (1986). Sheep and Goat Science, Fifth Edition. Danville, Illinois: The Interstate Printers and Publishers Inc. ISBN 081342464X. 
  • Simmons, Paula; Carol Ekarius (2001). Storey's Guide to Raising Sheep. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing LLC. ISBN 9781580172622. 
  • Smith M.S., Barbara; Mark Aseltine PhD, Gerald Kennedy DVM (1997). Beginning Shepherd's Manual, Second Edition. Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press. ISBN 081382799X. 
  • Weaver, Sue (2005). Sheep: small-scale sheep keeping for pleasure and profit. 3 Burroughs Irvine, CA 92618: Hobby Farm Press, an imprint of BowTie Press, a division of BowTie Inc.. ISBN 1-931993-49-1. 
  • Wooster, Chuck; Geoff Hansen (Photography) (2005). Living with Sheep: Everything You Need to Know to Raise Your Own Flock. Guilford, Connecticut: The Lyons Press. ISBN 1-59228-531-7. 

External links


Citable sentences

Up to date as of December 26, 2010

Here are sentences from other pages on Domestic sheep, which are similar to those in the above article.








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