I got questioned yesterday what is the difference between a sheep and a ram? And my teenage years flashed before my eyes. When I used to ask livestock keepers similar questions as sheep have always fascinated me. I got all my questions answered when I bought the first pair for my backyard.
It’s totally fine to get confused with the terms we used to refer to these animals with. You have the right to ask. Even if it’s an innocent question that doesn’t mean it should go unanswered.
Sheep, a ruminant mammal belonging to the Bovidae family, are commonly kept as livestock. Sheep is among the few earliest members that were domesticated for several purposes i.e. meat, fleece, milk, and many others.
What is the difference between a sheep and a ram?
Sheep is a term used when we are referring to the sheep in general. It can be male or female. Whereas the male member of the sheep family (that is capable of breeding) is called a ram. So, ram is just a part of this family in which both sexes are commonly called sheep.
Ram is a sexually mature male sheep
As mentioned-above the adult male sheep that are ready to be used for breeding is called a ram, thus an important member of the sheep family. Rams are big, fast, and tough like all male mammals. Not all rams are horned; some of them can be polled.
You can recognize a ram by their muscular body and thick curved horns(if it’s not polled.
Rams have thick and longer horns than female sheep called ewes. You can recognize a male sheep by just a visual examination as they lack udders and have a scrotum.
Height and weight
Usually, rams weigh between 35 to 180 kg(80 to 400 pounds) and their overall height is up to 46.0 inches.
Ewes are social and gentle but rams are not. Their hostile nature gets even more highlighted in the breeding season. They get aggressive to the point that they will not take a step back from hitting you. For this reason, livestock keepers keep reminding the newbies to watch out for rams.
It is mostly said that the rams hit and cause injuries to people and animals around them to show their dominance. Petting or scratching their head should be avoided especially during the breeding season as they will take it as a green signal to show their aggressive behavior.
Like all animals, they do have a way to attract female sheep. And this member of the Bovidae family uses headbutting to attract each other.
Rams should not be taken as a pet and if one has to keep a ram for their ewes to produce offspring polled rams are an ideal choice. They would be aggressive as well but will cause less damage to the livestock keeper and other farm animals.
Little-known differences between ram and ewes
- Ram, being male, is stronger than ewes. Not just for ewes, they are more muscular for whether as well.
- Testosterone is higher in rams than ewes.
- Rams take more time to mature(sexually)than ewes.
- Ewes are gentle and social but rams are not.
- Rams go a long way to protect ewes and they usually do so by stomping feet or putting their head down.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are male sheep called?
Young immature male sheep are called lambs and mature ready to breed male sheep is called a “ram”
Are rams different from sheep?
The word “sheep” is used to talk about both male and female sheep. Male sheep are separately caller rams and females; ewes. So, no they are no different from sheep.
Why are the rams so aggressive?
Rams are aggressive because they want to establish their dominance. They attack humans for the same reason as they consider them a part of their flock.
Are rams strong enough to kill a human?
No, they can not kill even though they are powerful. But they can break one to two bones in one go.
Is ram a goat or sheep?
A Bighorn sexually mature male sheep. They can be recognized by their big curved horns, split hooves, long fur, and aggressive personality.
Does ram make a good pet?
They are aggressive so they cannot be kept as pets. Female sheep are gentle, they can be kept for any purpose. Rams are simply not easy to handle so they won’t be good pets.
The term “sheep” is used to refer to both male and female sheep. Mature male sheep are called rams and females are called ewes. Rams are muscular, thick horned or polled, and dominant. They hit and cause injuries to establish their dominance. Comparing rams with sheep is useless as they both belong to the same category.