Sheep are domesticated animals which are typically raised for milk, meat, and fleece. With huge numbers around the globe, they are one of the most important farming animals and can be found in hundreds of different breeds.
A young lamb male is known as a ram lamb, and a ram is a male sheep sometimes referred to as a buck. The ram is known as a tup in various parts of the world, particularly the UK, which gives rise to the name “tupping season” for the mating season.
You can raise sheep for self-sufficiency, or they can often be raised for companionship with horses, etc., and as pets; however, farming is the expected purpose of domesticated sheep.
In our guide, you can learn more about the difference between ram and sheep. By the end, you’ll understand more about, are all sheep female and the difference of ram vs. sheep. (Read Is A Lamb A Baby Sheep)
Visual Differences of Ram and Female Sheep
Regardless of sheep breeds, there are differences between a ram and a ewe (female sheep).
Sheep are recognizable, fluffy, wool-producing animals raised for meat. However, some sheep are raised just for milk which they use to make specialized cheeses. They consume grass, weeds, and hay primarily as they are herbivores.
Domestic sheep may or may not have horns, depending on the breed. The average sheep’s fleece weighs 8 to 10 pounds, and farmers shear their sheep at least once a year.
The males, called rams, have large, curved horns. They like mountainous terrain and frequently resolve conflicts by ramming their heads into the opposing party, thus their name.
Rams can reach more than 300 pounds and are typically 5 to 6 feet tall (1.5–1.8 meters) from head to tail if they stand on their hind legs. They have long fur and split hooves, and their horns can weigh up to 30 pounds.
Goats are small farm animals, and each breed has distinctive horns with unique dimensions and weights. Goats can often grow beards found on the male and female. Look at their tails to distinguish between several goat and sheep breeds that look remarkably similar: Sheep tails hang down and are typically longer and larger than goat tails, which are short and usually point up.
Male sheep are called rams and are at least 12 months old. If a farmer wants to breed lambs for the meat market or get sheep’s milk, they need both ewes and rams. Rams can also be raised as stud rams, in which case their semen is either sold to farmers and breeders, or they are encouraged to impregnate ewes.
Semen production is a need for stud rams, and those with a large output will be paid more. A farmer typically keeps one ram for every 100 ewes in his flock, but this ratio might vary from 1:50 to 1:150.
The feistiness of rams is well known, especially in the mating season, and they’re among ewes who are in heat.
A ram may turn on humans, dogs, other animals, or anything on the farm they think is a threat during the breeding season. They will fight with additional rams for the privilege to mate with females no matter the age of the other ram. (Read Can Chickens See At Night)
Expect ramming from rams, as this is their natural behavior. Male sheep naturally do this; if your ram charges everything entering the yard, it can be an issue. Because it’s instinctive, it’s hard to train a ram. However, you can decrease risk. Spend time with your ram, but don’t make him a pet.
A viable ram is necessary whether you wish to breed to expand your flock, sell lambs, or for any other reason.
There are limits to how much you can increase fertility because rams with larger testicles naturally produce more sperm. Genetics take care of the rest, and although a high-energy diet is essential for rams before the breeding season starts, they mate with endless female sheep.
Will Rams Live Together?
Rams can live together, although it depends on the individuals. Some rams live peacefully, while others repeatedly butt heads to assert dominance.
It is advised to keep a second ram if you own one; however, this usually takes the form of a wether, a castrated ram. They won’t fight in a struggle for dominance because they have been castrated.
An adult male sheep above 12 months is called a ram, while an infant sheep is referred to as a lamb. Most of a flock are animals called ewes, which are female sheep.
Around 1 billion sheep are raised and bred worldwide for their wool, meat, and milk. It’s expensive to buy and raise sheep that are kept for exhibitions and showing.
Sheep are calm, gentle animals, and as they are herd animals, they perform better in groups than alone. They get along with other sheep, and they can tolerate, if not get along with, other animal species.
Sheep can form a strong attachment with their owner if they are reared from lambs, especially if they are bottle-fed and take on pet behavior. They form strong ties with other sheep and may even defend one another when fighting. (Read Can Chickens Have Brussel Sprouts)
Females In A Flock
A large farm flock can turn a sizable profit and starting your own flock can be a step in the right direction toward self-sufficiency. Sheep are flock animals; thus, they thrive in groups.
Have a herd of at least five ewes, to begin with. Although you can mix your new flock with other species like alpacas and female goats, they truly need the company of other sheep to thrive.
A flock of five sheep will require around an acre of land, though specifics like grass quality and parasite threats will affect this. If you add a ram to your flock, you’ll need a wether to keep your main ram company and live alongside him.
Caring For a Breeding Herd
Following the first stocking of your herd, you ensure that they receive proper care. This means ensuring they have an abundance of grass to graze on in the summer and providing them with hay in the winter.
After giving birth (lambing), new mothers receive grain for three weeks to ensure they are well nourished. Check the quality of the soil in your pastures. To ensure that your flock and your sheep are healthy, you will need to supplement the selenium many new farmers discover their soil and crops lack.
Although sheep dislike being cooped up in a barn, they require protection from the sun, wind, and rain in the summer and winter. The most common type of protection is a three-sided barn.
Which Sheep Breed is Suitable For You?
A sheep is a farm animal that has been domesticated and reared for milk, meat, and fleece. To earn money, you can also stud out the ram. A small flock of sheep with around a dozen may be sufficient for you to live on, but it will require careful management, especially if you keep a ram instead of a local stud ram.
You will need some acreage; for a small flock, an acre is said to be the absolute least; the difference with a larger herd is they need many acres to graze and live on. Depending on whether you tend to raise sheep for their wool, meat, breeding, exhibits, and shows, or either, choose the breed and the number of sheep you want to keep.
Regarding a ram’s unique traits, some traits may not apply if your flock is typically fed a lot of grain because they are exclusive to a grass-fed herd. Some things won’t apply if you are focused on wool production if you are focused on meat production.
In the end, each herd owner will have priorities based on the things they may want to keep or maintain in their flock.
A ram should be appropriately built, and the proportions of the various body components should be correct.
The back shouldn’t droop and be firm, the pastern joints must be firm, and a good hoof structure is necessary. Since a poor structure is frequently handed down to the kids by the mother, the overall appearance of a male is quite essential.
The ram’s actual weight at the time of purchase is not very important. How long it took the ram to reach its weight and how it did so are crucial factors (grain versus forage feed). The daily weight gain is higher the quicker he gained weight when you bought the lambs or older males. For businesses, daily weight gain is an essential characteristic in males compared to a ewe.
However, one must exercise caution because a lamb born as a singleton will always look better and weigh more than a lamb born as a twin or born in groups (triplets) at the same age.
The development of premium cuts, such as the rack, loin, and rib chops from the back and hind legs (leg of lamb), will decide the sales price when selling market lambs or ewes off farms. The more money a market lamb may bring in, the higher their perceived or actual yield.
When it is born in the spring, a ram lamb may breed a few dozen ewes and then breed a small flock in the fall.
It is frequently less expensive than an adult ram. An older ram is more suited for a larger flock, and although older rams may be a safer buy, they may have a shorter valuable time.
Difference Of Sheep As Herd Animals
Sheep are herd creatures, just like horses, and they flock together to avoid being eaten by predators. Since herds and groups resemble human families, many experts believe sheep may also see their human caregivers and even dogs as family.
Most sheep herds comprise a few females and one or two rams. When left alone, sheep of both sexes have exhibited high stress and anxiety levels. An animal may experience such high levels of stress from the loneliness that it may pass away. It is highly recommended that sheep owners have over one animal. (Learn How To Get Rid Of Ducks In Pool)
Sheep herds have a distinct social structure, with the biggest, tallest, and horniest sheep at the top with the males. Both males and females and domesticated sheep and wild sheep are subject to this ranking system. However, the social ranking of rams and ewes differs in some ways.