Sheep

Sheep are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like most ruminants, sheep are members of the order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name sheep applies to many species in the genus Ovis, in everyday usage it almost always refers to Ovis aries. Numbering a little over one billion, domestic sheep are also the most numerous species of sheep. An adult female is referred to as a ewe, an intact male as a ram, occasionally a tup, a castrated male as a wether, and a young sheep as a lamb.

Sheep are most likely descended from the wild mouflon of Europe and Asia, with Iran being a geographic envelope of the domestication centre. One of the earliest animals to be domesticated for agricultural purposes, sheep are raised for fleeces, meat (lamb, hogget or mutton) and milk. A sheep’s wool is the most widely used animal fibre and is usually harvested by shearing.


 

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