Sheep and Goats. Sheep & Goat Overview. • Both originated in Europe and the cooler regions on Asia. • Both are important ruminants in temperate and tropical agriculture. • Provide fibers, milk, meat, and hides. • Versatile and efficient, especially for developing countries.
• Both originated in Europe and the cooler regions on Asia.
• Both are important ruminants in temperate and tropical agriculture.
• Provide fibers, milk, meat, and hides.
• Versatile and efficient, especially for
• Sheep – numbers have declined in the
U.S. (less than 0.2% of total farm revenue in U.S.)
• New Zealand, Australia, and Saudi Arabia - highest per capita consumption of lamb, and goat meat.
• U.S. consumes < 1 lb./person of lamb (boneless wt. basis).
• China, Australia, India, Iran and Sudan – leading sheep producing countries.
Grazers close to soil (short tender grasses and clovers)
Distant and aloof
Goats – Carpa Hircus
Tail up (unless sick)
Natural browsers on top of plants (twigs, vine, shrubs)
Curious and independent
Distinct odor as they mature
Straight hornsSheep and Goats
Cattle, sheep, & goats are often grazed together because they utilize different plants
– Goats graze browse (tender
twigs & leaves from brush &
trees) and some forbs
– Sheep graze short grasses
and some forbs
– Cattle graze tall grasses and
• 56 mil. in 1942; ~ 6 mil. in 2004
• U. S. relies on imports to supply limited demand for lamb.
• Most U. S. sheep growers have small flocks (50 or fewer) and raise sheep as a secondary enterprise.
• About 23% of sheep born in western U.S. are lost before they are marketed (predators and weather are main problems).
• Less demand for wool.
• Declining demand for lamb in consumer
• Increased difficulty in obtaining/keeping
reliable herders to manage flocks.
• Increased competition for public-owned
nutritious, more than cow milk. Vitamins A, B, and E, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium
75 million pounds of cheese made from sheep
• Meat Breeds or Medium wool
– Mainly used for meat production
– Are predominant in the U.S.
– Include Dorset, Suffolk, and
• Fine Wool Breeds
– Highest quality Merino from Spain and Rambouillet from France, predominant breed in Australia is the Merino
• Long wool
• Hair breeds
• Breeding season occurs mainly in the fall.
• Estrous cycle: 16 to 17 days
• Gestation length = ~147 days (varies).
• Recommended breeding age: 1 yr.
• Multiple births are highly desirable (twinning).
• Weaned at ~ 3 to 4 months
• Other important economic traits include growth rate, wool production, and carcass merit (quality grade and yield grade).
Brachygnathism: parrot mouth
primarily in India, and
China (other contributing
countries include Pakistan,
Sudan, and Bangladesh).
• Texas ranks 2nd
in the U.S. for total
number of goats.
• Goat milk is also
used to feed many
other animals (most mammals
including wild animals) usually
they are bottle feed.
• Goats will fairly easily adopt
lambs and a goat will even jump
up on bale of hay to allow a foal
• Most are found in developing countries
• Supply meat and milk
• Major by-product – skins
• Almost all of the dairy
goats in the U.S. are found
in small herds
• Gestation Length – 150 days
• Estrous cycle – 17 to 21 days
• Age at puberty – 120 days to over 1 yr.
• Breeding age ~ 9 months
• Breeding season – late summer, early fall, or winter
• Adult size:
– 130 lb avg. for Does
– 160 lb avg. for Bucks
• Origin: South Africa, Middle East, and
• Boer goat: superior growth rate and lean
• Ethnic consumer market has the highest
demand for goat meat
• Meat Breeds: BoerGoat
– White with brown head from
• Milk breeds: Nubian,
– Heavy milk producers per
body size vs. cattle
production per body size
• Hair breeds for Mohair
(Angora) and Cashmere