Lamb VS Sheep VS Goat (Difference Between Sheep and Goat)

lamb vs goat

Sheep are known as the most humble animal. Some people get confused between sheep vs lamb vs goat. However, all these animals are not similar and different in some aspects. Let us compare all the three animals and know specific facts about them.

Are Sheep and Lamb the Same Thing?

We can say that sheep and lamb are the same; the only difference between sheep and lamb is their age. Those with over one year of age are known as sheep, and those less than a year are considered as a lamb.

Information About Sheep:

  • Sheep are closely related to antelopes, goats, cattle and muskoxen because all these mammals are even-toed ungulates. 
  • Their hooves are split into two toes. 
  • Their stomach consists of multiple chambers to digest food. 
  • Most of the sheep’s horns are large and curved and made up of keratin- the same one can find in human nails.

Sheep Size:

There is a single species of the domestic sheep and around five species of wild sheep. The average length of the sheep is from 4 to 6 feet, and they measure about 2 to 4 feet at the shoulder. The largest sheep species is the argali sheep that can stand from 3 to 4 feet at the shoulder. Its length is between 4 to 6 feet from head to tail, and it weighs up to 400 pounds.  

The smaller species of sheep are bighorn sheep that inherit in the rocky mountain. The males of these species usually measure 5 to 6 feet long from head to tail whereas the female bighorn sheep are about 4.9 feet. Also, the males and the female’s weigh differently and the males are heavier than the females. Males weigh between 262 to 280 pounds, and the females weigh between 116 to 200 pounds. The enormous horns of the bighorn species weigh more than the total weight of the bones in their body which is about 30 pounds. 

Where Do Sheep Live?

Sheep are known to be the first animal that was domesticated and were raised all over the world. The wild sheep habitats in Middle East Asia, central Europe and North America parts of the world in a mountainous region. Bighorn sheep inherits in the rocky mountain area of North America. However, the desert bighorn sheep lives in the Death Valley, California, Texas, Nevada, and Northern Mexico.

Sheep Social Behaviour:

Sheep are social animals but prefer to live with the same gender. The males live in a group called bachelor herds; these herds consist of 5 to 50 members. The group of females is known as a nursery herd that consists of 5 to 100 members, including their young ones. Male sheep often fight for dominance in their group. Some of them can speed up to 20 mph. The supremacy is gained when one male comply. 

What Do Sheep Eat?

They are herbivorous, which means their diet only consists of vegetation and not meat. They generally feed on leaves, grasses, plants and seeds. Like cows, they have multi-chambered stomachs that are adapted to simmer the food before digestion. To wholly digest their food sheep will excel their food into their mouths, re-chew and then swallow it. 

Sheep Reproduction Cycle (Lambs)

Male sheep fight with one another for mating rights; the strongest is then allowed to mate with the female. The breeding season in sheep takes place in autumn. After the evolution of five months, the female will deliver one or two offspring. As discussed above, baby sheep are called lambs. They can start walking a few minutes after they are born. For the first four to six months, the lambs are dependent on their mother.

Facts About Goat:

  • Goats are muscular bodied animals with horns and cloven hooves. 
  • There are mainly two types of goats- domestic and mountain goats. 
  • Local goats are raised and bred as farm animals whereas mountain goats habitats in steep, rocky areas in northwest America. 
  • Goats belong to the Bovidae family that also includes antelopes, cattle, and sheep.
  • Mountain goats can reach the length of 49 to 70 inches and weighs between 125 to 180 pounds. 
  • Both male and female of these species have horns that can grow up to 8 to 12 inches. 
  • Mountain goat does not shed their antlers so their age can be determined by counting the annual growth of the rings. 
  • Mountain goats inherit in the rocky mountains of Alaska, western Montana, South Dakota, Colorado and Washington.
  •  On the other hand, domestic goats can be found all over the world. Their primary habitat requirement is clean and ventilated shelter and availability of grass. 
  • Goats are a very social creature and live in groups known as herds. 
  • Their herd may contain 20 members. Mountain goats prefer to live in groups in winters and live solo during summers. Goats spend their day grazing on grasses. 
  • The gestation period in female goat is around 150 to 180 days, after which one or two offspring are delivered.
  •  Baby goats are known as kids; they are weaned for three to four months.

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What’s the Difference Between a Goat and a Sheep?

Although sheep and goats look quite similar, both have different physical features, fur, horns, eating habits and natural behaviour. Let us compare the differences between sheep versus goat based on the following factors-

Fur-

Sheep usually have furry wool that needs shearing while goats have thin hair which does not require shearing. 

Beard-

Unlike sheep, both the gender of goats have a beard.

Tail-

The sheep points their tail downwards; on the other hand, goats point their tail upwards.

Eating Habit-

The main difference between a sheep and a goat is their eating behaviour. Sheep are grazers and like to forage on small plants that are close to the ground while goats are browsers and feed on twigs, leaves, shrubs, and vines. 

What is the Difference Between Lamb and Mutton?

Many people think that lamb and mutton are different names for the same thing as both are domestic sheep. However, there are some differences between lamb and mutton. Let us understand the difference between these terms.

Lamb-

We have learned above that a lamb is a sheep that is usually less than one year old or in simple words, we can say that a baby sheep is known as a lamb. A lamb contains a small amount of fat, and their meat color can vary from tender pink to pale red. Those lambs which are less than three months are known as spring lambs. They are incredibly delicate and has mild flavor than lamb. 

Mutton-

Mutton is meat derived from a sheep older than one year, ideally three years old. It has an intense red color and contains an adequate amount of fat. Mutton has a strong flavor and is popular in the Middle East and Europe as compared to the United States.

Sheep vs Goat (Fight Comparison)

If a fight took place between goat and sheep, there are higher chances that goat may win. It is so because sheep panic rapidly and run away in case of any danger. Also, goats are more active than sheep and can be more aggressive. The strong and sharp horns of a goat, especially a mountain goat may tear the flesh of the sheep. 

On the other hand, it is quite possible then a sheep may also injure the goat. In conclusion, it is impossible to say that who will win because a sheep may also hurt the goat because of its agile impact.  

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