Difference between Lambs and Sheep

 

Key difference: Sheep are a type of domesticated animal, which is often kept for milk, fleece, and meat. They were one of the earliest animals to be domesticated. Essentially, the only difference between lambs and sheep is the fact that lambs are young sheep, specifically a sheep below one year of age. After the lamb ages past one year, it is considered as sexually active and officially a sheep.

 

Sheep are a type of domesticated animal, which is often kept for milk, fleece, and meat. They were one of the earliest animals to be domesticated. They are docile natured animals and are considered to be very intelligent. Sheep are a member of the genus Ovis, and the term refers to the numerous species categorized under the genus. Today, the numerous species of sheep together number a little over one billion.

 

Sheep husbandry is practiced throughout the world. Currently, sheep husbandry is a major part of Australia, New Zealand, southern and central South American nations, as well as the British Isles.

 

A single sheep is called sheep, whereas a number of sheep are also referred to as sheep. A group of sheep, however, can be termed as a flock, herd or mob. The terminology of sheep is bifurcated as such:

  • Adult female sheep are called ‘ewes’
  • Adult intact males are called ‘rams’ or sometimes ‘tups’
  • Castrated adult males are called ‘wethers’
  • Young sheep are called ‘lambs’

 

Essentially, the only difference between lambs and sheep is the fact that lambs are young sheep, specifically a sheep below one year of age. After the lamb ages past one year, it is considered as sexually active and officially a sheep. The average life expectancy of a sheep is anywhere from 10-12 years, however, some sheep may live as long as 20 years.

 

 

The word lamb, in addition to mutton is also used to refer to the meat acquired from sheep. The difference between the two is the age of the sheep that the meat is sourced from. Lamb is young sheep, while mutton is the meat from the older sheep. The older sheep tends to have a richer and stronger flavor but can be tough if not cooked properly. It also tends to take longer to cook than the soft and tender lamb, which has a milder flavor. Hence, many people tend to prefer lamb over mutton, especially the Western countries. Mutton, which is tougher, is more of an acquired taste.

 

Lamb meat is essentially from a sheep that is less than 2 to 3 years of age. If the sheep is above the age of 3 years, the meat is called mutton. However, in some countries, such as the United States, meat from a sheep in general is called lamb, irrespective of age. Furthermore, in some countries the meat of a goat is also called mutton.

 

Image Courtesy: wild-life-adventures.blogspot.in

Image Courtesy:  claudia.sg

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