Other names: Domestic sheep
Latin name: Ovis orientalis aries
size: 1.0 - 1.9m
mass: 50 - 100kg
Older: 10 - 18 years
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
Nutrition type: Herbivore (herbivor)
original origin: Asia Minor
Sleep-wake rhythm: diurnal
natural enemies: Bear, Wolf
sexual maturity: with 6 - 12 months
mating season: August - October
gestation: about 150 days
litter size: 1 - 4 cubs
social behavior: group building
Threatened with extinction: No
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.
Interesting facts about the sheep
- The domestic sheep comes from wild sheep (mouflon).
- Sheep are undemanding in terms of food and are therefore often used for the maintenance and care of unused landscapes. In this way, areas can be kept cost-free vegetation.
- A sheep can deliver between 3 and 8kg of wool per year. Normally, sheep are shorn in the spring (after the cold winter months and before summer time).
- The first cloned mammal was a sheep named Dolly.
- Like cows, sheep belong to the ruminants. Food eaten is repeatedly strangled and chewed again to facilitate digestion. Grass is difficult to digest.
- Sheep recognize conspecifics and humans by their face. Experiments have shown that sheep have more than 50 different faces.
- Sheep husbandry may be designed for meat, milk or wool, depending on the specialization. Some sheep species give e.g. significantly more milk than others, but have it but a slow-growing coat.
- Worldwide, the number of sheep kept is estimated at about 1.2 billion.
- In comparison to cow's milk, sheep's milk contains about twice as much fat (about 6-7%), a higher content of vitamins (especially A, E and B12) and more calories. However, sheep's milk is not suitable for people with lactose intolerance because it also contains lactose.