Ovis aries


6-12 years

Type of Animal


Animals Diet


Sheep are useful small animals because they give us meat, wool, and milk. They come in different colors and sizes, and people like to work with them in 4-H projects to learn more about them. They are important for many jobs and can live in different places, making them valuable for people all around the world.


Baby = Lamb

Young intact male = Ram lamb

Mature intact male = Ram

Castrated male = Wether

Young female = Ewe lamb

Mature female = Ewe

Group called = Flock

Where in the world can this animal be found in the wild? What is its habitat like?

Sheep can still be found in the wild in some parts of Central Asia, where they originated. Their natural habitat typically includes rugged mountains, grasslands, and rocky terrains. Over the course of their domestication over 10,000 years ago, they have adapted to living alongside humans in various regions worldwide, but their wild ancestors were native to the challenging landscapes of Central Asia.

How many breeds of this animal are there?

About 50 breeds are recognized in the United States

What is this animal's purpose?

Raising sheep offers a multitude of benefits to farmers and communities alike. Firstly, sheep provide a renewable source of meat, wool, and milk, contributing to food and textile production. Secondly, sheep grazing can help manage vegetation and maintain ecological balance in various landscapes. Lastly, raising sheep can offer economic opportunities and foster a sense of companionship and engagement through activities like 4-H projects.

Give a brief overview of the animal's history in the United States.

Sheep have a long history in the United States, as they were brought to North America by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century. Initially introduced in New Mexico, they later spread across the West Coast of the country. In the early 17th century, additional settlers brought sheep to New England, leading to their dissemination across the East Coast as well. This historical migration established sheep as an essential part of American agriculture, contributing to various industries such as wool production, meat, and dairy.

Benefits of Working with Sheep

Sheep are a great 4-H project because they range in size which can be less intimidating for younger club members. Sheep have a wide variety of colors and patterns so lambing season is always exciting to see what the babies will look like. When working with sheep, lots of time goes into building trust between the sheep and its owner, and halter training practice is important so the sheep can get used to walking with their owner in the show ring.

Become a 4-H Member

If you are interested in joining 4-H, visit, or fill out our Plymouth County 4-H interest form.

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