Difference Between A Lamb And A Sheep

If you have been to many homes, chances are that you have come across a lamb, a sheep, or even both. These animals are usually domesticated for different purposes. From providing nutritious milk to providing the much-needed wool and meat, there are many benefits of rearing these animals. However, most people usually use sheep and lamb interchangeably.

The reality of the issue is that these animals are different. One of the common differences between a sheep and a lamb is their age. You will note that a lamb is the young one of a sheep. The lamb can either be a male or a female and is normally less than 1 year old. A sheep, on the other hand, refers to an adult ruminant mammal that has a thick woolly coat. In this article, we shall take a closer look at these animals so that you can know them better.

Differences Between Lamb And Sheep

Although both animals can be domesticated, they have some differences that separate them. Here are several differences that set these animals apart:

  • Age: As we mentioned above, a lamb is a young one of a sheep. Typically, this young one is usually 12 months old. On the other hand, a sheep is more than 12 months.
  • Food: Both animals usually need to feed well in order to remain healthy. That said, a lamb feeds on the mother’s milk to remain healthy. On the other hand, the sheep feeds on grass and other green plants out there.
  • Type of meat: Although both animals produce edible meat, there is some difference between the types of meat they produce. To start with, meat from a lamb is commonly known as lamb meat. On the other hand, meat from a sheep is commonly known as mutton. In addition, lamb meat is usually pink in color while mutton is intense red in color. Finally, lamb meat is more tender and moist compared to that of its counterpart. Mutton, on the other hand, normally has a larger grain texture. In addition, this meat has a strong flavor compared to lamb meat.
  • Length of tail: As far as size is concerned, a lamb’s tail is relatively small. However, that of a sheep is comparatively long.
  • Slaughtering age: It is ideal to slaughter a lamb when it is between 4 and 12 months. However, the ideal age to slaughter a sheep is when it is one year and above.
  • Meat fat: Although the meat from both animals contains some fat elements, one has more fat than the other. To put it into perspective, mutton has more fat than lamb meat.
  • Cost of meat: As you purpose to buy either lamb meat or mutton, you have to set a budget for it. However, mutton is cheaper than lamb meat. This is because lamb meat is more preferred than sheep meat.
  • Horns: Since a lamb is usually small in size, it does not have horns. However, a sheep usually has lateral spiral horns.
  • Hides: The skin of these two animals is different in texture. You will note that lambskin is softer compared to that of a sheep. It is important to note that lambskin is used to make handbags, belts, gloves, purses, and so on.
  • Teeth: Since sheep are ruminants, they usually graze on a variety of legumes and grasses. If you check keenly, they have 8 incisors that are sharp enough to cut off the grass. Also, these teeth enable it to eat other solid food. Lambs on the other hand, usually have milk teeth and mostly rely on their mother’s milk for nutrition. Over time, the lambs develop incisors and can therefore start grazing out there.
  • Behavior: Lambs are known to be more playful than sheep. In most instances, you will see it nibbling on things and even prancing around. Sheep, on the other hand, is quite reserved and usually likes sticking close to each other. When the lamb is not active in the field, it spends half of its day sleeping. On the other hand, sheep-like chewing cud whenever it is not active. If it finds a comfortable spot to relax, it will start chewing cud.
  • Ability to produce milk: Since a lamb is young, it is not able to produce milk at its age. Instead, it consumes milk until it reaches the weaning stage. Sheep, on the other hand, can produce milk after giving birth to lambs

Final Thoughts

Although these animals might have some similarities, they are quite different. From their age to their behavior, there are many elements that distinguish them. As you purpose to rear any of them, you should note these differences so that you can know what to expect from each one of them. Otherwise, these animals are truly incredible.