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Chapter 12 Goats and sheep.

Chapter Objectives

* Learn the major sheep and goat breeds

* Learn the major products from sheep and goats, and how they are used

* Understand the historical role of sheep and goats

* Learn the basic management terms relative to sheep and goats

Sheep and goats are a small part of the U.S. animal production industry. Although sheep and goats were among the first animals to be domesticated, and are still a major part of the animal industry in other countries, the consumer demand for product in the United States does not support a large industry (see Figure 12-1).Historically, sheep and goats frequently accompanied explorers and settlers, as their small size and subsequent lower feed needs made them easier to transport than cattle. In the 1800s, the focus of sheep production was on wool; however, as more and more synthetic fabrics have become available, the demand for wool has decreased. Countries such as New Zealand and Australia produce sufficient wool and meat for the needs of American consumers if domestic production ceased.

The sheep and goat industries are more specialty or niche industries, which provide products for specific clientele. Therefore, most producers raise sheep as a hobby or for supplemental income, not as a primary livelihood. One significant part of the industry is the sale of club lambs, or lambs intended for exhibition by youth involved in 4-H or Future Farmers of America (FFA) programs. Sheep are an excellent option for youth who wish to keep an animal for a project, but do not have the space or interest in a large animal like a steer or horse. As with swine and cattle, the majority of market lambs are crossbred animals.



Although wool is no longer the primary product of sheep in the United States, breeds of sheep are classified based on the type of wool they produce. Although most market animals are crossbred animals, it is important to understand the characteristics of the purebred animals in order to understand what qualities may be found in the crossbred animals.

Fine Wool

Fine wool sheep are bred primarily for wool production, and have lower quality carcasses than meat-type sheep. As wool has become a lower priority product, breeders have improved the carcass quality of fine wool sheep. The following are breeds of fine wool sheep:

Debouillet (deh-boo-lay) A white sheep developed in the United States by breeding Rambouillet and Delaine Merino sheep. The breed does well on the rangelands of the western United States. Debouillets are white-bodied sheep with a white face and legs. They are medium-sized, with adult ewes weighing between 125 and 160 pounds, and adult rams weighing between 175 and 250 pounds.

Merino (meh-re-n-o-) The classic fine wool sheep, the Merino originated in Spain and was imported into the United States in 1801. The Merino has varying degrees of wrinkling to the skin. In the United States, the Delaine Merino, the strain with the least wrinkling of the skin, is most preferred (see Figure 12-2). Delaine Merinos are medium-sized white sheep with very uniform fleece quality. Adult ewes weigh between 125 and 180 pounds, and adult rams weigh between 175 and 235 pounds. Size of the sheep is not a primary goal.Merinos are still bred with a focus on producing high-quality wool.Merinos are one of the oldest of sheep breeds, and centuries of selective breeding have resulted in a prepotent sheep that has been frequently crossbred with other breeds to improve their wool characteristics.


Rambouillet (ram-boo-lay) The Rambouillet was developed in France from the Merino and native sheep. Rambouillet sheep are large and have a meatier carcass than Merinos. Mature rams weigh between 250 and 300 pounds, and mature ewes weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. Rambouillet sheep have been used extensively in crossbreeding programs and are the most popular fine wool sheep in the United States.


Medium Wool

Medium wool sheep are primarily raised for meat production. The following are breeds of medium wool sheep:

Cheviot (shehv-e-- ht) A small white sheep developed in northern England's Cheviot Hills, the Cheviot is a hardy sheep that forages well. Documentation of this breed exists from as long ago as 1372. The ewes are known for easy lambing and being good mothers. Cheviots were imported to the United States in the 1830s. The Cheviot has a distinctive white head with white legs and black feet, a stocky body, and moderate fleece quality (see Figure 12-3). The legs and head have no wool covering them. Adult ewes weigh between 120 and 160 pounds, and adult rams weigh between 160 and 300 pounds.

Dorset (dohr-seht) Dorsets are medium-sized white sheep originating in southern England, probably as a mix of native and Merino sheep. Dorsets were originally brought to the United States in 1860, with subsequent importations in the 1880s. Dorsets can be either polled or horned (see Figure 12-4). The polled version was developed in North Carolina, when animals in the purebred herd were born with no horns. Polled Dorsets are the more popular variety in the United States. Dorsets have white legs and faces and produce a good-quality carcass. Adult ewes weigh between 150 and 200 pounds, and adult rams weigh between 225 and 275 pounds. Dorsets are one of the breeds that will breed out of season, and can have both spring and fall lambs. The mothers are good producers of milk and often have multiple lambs. The Continental Dorset Club is the registering body for the Dorset sheep.



Finnish Landrace (Fihn-ish lahn-dra-s) Also known as the Finnsheep, this light-bodied white sheep is from Finland, and was imported into the United States in the late 1960s. Finnish Landraces are renowned for multiple births (see Figure 12-5), and are primarily used in crossbreeding programs to increase the number of lambs born per ewe. Adult rams weigh between 150 and 200 pounds, and adult ewes weigh between 120 and 190 pounds. Animals can be registered with the Finnsheep Breeders'Association, Inc.

Hampshire (hahmp-sh r) This medium-bodied sheep originating from southern England has black legs, as well as a black face and ears. They have some wool on the face, but it must not come down the face to the level of the eyes. They may also have some wool on the lower legs, but this is discouraged. They are large sheep with blocky bodies and are naturally polled (see Figure 12-6). Adult rams weigh 275 pounds or more, and the adult ewes weigh 200 pounds or more. Hampshires grow quickly and efficiently convert feed into marketable meat. They were imported into the United States in the 1800s and are very popular in crossbreeding programs to produce market lambs.



Montadale (mon-tah-da-l) The Montadale is a medium to large breed that is all white (see Figure 12-7). Montadales were developed in the 1900s in Missouri by crossing Cheviots and Columbias. One of the distinguishing characteristics of this breed is a lack of wool on the face and legs, a quality inherited from their Cheviot foundation stock. Montadales are naturally polled and produce a good-quality carcass. Adult males weigh between 200 and 275 pounds, and adult females weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. Montadales produce higher-quality wool than many of the other carcass-type breeds, and are known as a dual-purpose breed. Animals can be registered with the Montadale Sheep Breeders' Association.



Oxford A large sheep that was developed in England in the 1830s from combining Hampshire, Cotswold, and Southdown breeds. The Oxford is a very large sheep, and ewes are prolific producers, averaging 1.5 lambs per year. Adult rams weigh between 200 and 300 pounds, and adult ewes weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. This sheep has a blocky body, with grayish-brown legs, face, ears, and nose. The wool on the Oxford grows down over the poll and between the eyes (see Figure 12-8). They are popular in crossbreeding programs because they produce lambs of good size, and the ewes provide plenty of milk. Oxfords do best in programs where plenty of feed is readily available, and where they do not need to forage for feed. Animals can be registered with the American Oxford Sheep Association.



Shropshire (shrahp-sh r) The Shropshire was developed in England in the 1860s and was quickly imported into the United States. The hardiness and adaptability of Shropshires made them very popular with the colonists and on small-family farms. They are a relatively small breed, but grow quickly to market weight. Adult rams weigh between 225 and 250 pounds, and adult ewes weigh between 150 and 180 pounds. These sheep are naturally polled, have dark faces and legs, and wool on the face (see Figure 12-9). Because of their relatively small frame, Shropshires that are fed to heavier market weights have a tendency to become fat. The U.S. market prefers a larger animal, and Shropshires are a relatively minor breed in the United States.

Southdown The Southdown was developed in southern England in the 1700s, and many breeds have at least some Southdown in their ancestry. Southdowns have gray-brown legs and face, mature quickly, and are naturally polled (see Figure 12-10). These sheep have considerable wool growth on the face, including wool around the eyes. Southdowns are one of the smallest of the medium wool breeds, and grow slowly, so they are not very popular in the United States. Adult rams weigh between 190 and 230 pounds, and adult ewes weigh between 130 and 180 pounds.


Suffolk (suhf-fulk) The Suffolk sheep is the most popular carcass-type sheep in the United States, and is used extensively in crossbreeding programs. The Suffolk was developed in England in the 1800s and was imported to the United States at the end of that century. It is a large, muscular sheep with a black face, legs, and ears. Suffolks have no wool on the legs and are naturally polled (see Figure 12-11). The fast-growing lambs are slow to deposit fat and are very popular market animals. Adult rams weigh between 250 and 350 pounds, and adult ewes weigh between 180 and 250 pounds. Animals can be registered with the National Suffolk Sheep Association.

Tunis (too-nihs) The Tunis was imported into the United States from Africa in the late eighteenth century. The Tunis is a medium-sized sheep with coarse wool and an angular frame. Tunis sheep are unique in that the hair on their clean faces and lower legs is reddish in color. The primary role of the Tunis in the American market is as a producer of lambs for the specialty ethnic market. The Tunis is listed as a rare breed with the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, but registrations have increased in recent years. Animals can be registered with the National Tunis Sheep Registry, Inc.

Long Wool

Breeds that were originally developed in England, the long wool breeds, have coarse wool and low-quality carcasses. They are usually used in crossbreeding programs. Long wool breeds are less popular in the United States than medium wool breeds.



Cotswold (kahtz-wohld) The Cotswold is an old English breed that was developed in the 1700s, and imported into the United States in the 1830s. The Cotswold is a polled sheep with long, curling wool that hangs in locks. These locks can be between 8 and 10 inches long. The long wool makes the maintenance of the Cotswold more difficult than some other breeds (see Figure 12-12). The sheep are primarily white, but may have dark spots on the legs. Adult rams weigh around 300 pounds, and adult ewes weigh around 200 pounds.

Lincoln An old English breed, the Lincoln was brought to the United States in the late 1700s. The Lincoln is the largest breed of sheep, with mature rams weighing between 250 and 350 pounds, and mature ewes weighing between 200 and 250 pounds. Lincolns are white with white faces and legs, and are polled (see Figure 12-13). They mature slowly, and have long fleece. The fleece hangs in locks that can be up to 15 inches in length. Although they have large, well-muscled carcasses, Lincolns are best known for their wool production.


Romney (rohm-ne) The Romney is a large white sheep from southern England that was imported into the United States in the early 1900s (see Figure 12-14). This is a large breed that does well in difficult conditions. The Romney is primarily a dual-purpose sheep, and lambs grow well on grass to produce high-quality lean carcasses. The Romney has the finest fleece of the long wool breeds, and the fleece is especially popular with craftspeople and those who hand spin wool. Adult rams weigh between 225 and 275 pounds, and adult ewes can weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. Animals can be registered with the American Romney Breeders Association.

Crossbred Wool Breeds

Breeders developed the crossbred wool breeds to create breeds that produce high-quality carcasses and good wool. These breeds were also bred to have a strong flocking instinct, which makes them good breeds for range flocks. The following are crossbred wool breeds:

Columbia The Columbia is a white sheep developed in The United States in the early 1900s (see Figure 12-15). The foundation stock was Lincoln rams and Rambouillet ewes. The Columbia is a large breed and produces relatively lean and good-quality lambs. Columbias are commonly used in crossbreeding programs, especially with some of the black-faced breeds, to produce market lambs. Adult rams weigh between 225 and 300 pounds, and adult ewes weigh between 150 and 225 pounds. Animals can be registered with the Columbia Sheep Breeders Association of America.

Corriedale (cohr-e-ah-dal) The Corriedale is a white sheep that originated in New Zealand in the late 1800s (see Figure 12-16). The foundation stock was Lincoln and Leicester rams, and Merino ewes. The Corriedales produce good-quality fleece, and their carcasses are of moderate quality. Adult rams weigh between 175 and 275 pounds, and adult ewes weigh between 130 and 180 pounds. Animals can be registered with the American Corriedale Association.



Targhee (tahr-ge) The Targhee is a relatively new breed, developed in 1927 in Idaho. The foundation breeds are Rambouillet, Corriedale, and Lincoln stock. Offspring were used in the breeding program based on performance criteria. These white-faced sheep are medium to large and are good sheep for range programs (see Figure 12-17). Mature rams weigh between 200 and 300 pounds, and ewes weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. The U.S. Targhee Sheep Association is the registering organization.


Hair Sheep

Hair sheep are a growing segment of the sheep industry. Hair sheep differ from other sheep in that they have more hair follicles, and fewer wool follicles, than wool sheep. As a result, hair sheep do not need to be sheared. The wool price does not justify the expense and effort of shearing for many producers, and raising hair sheep is a viable option. Developed in tropical climates, many hair sheep do well in hot climates and are resistant to many diseases. The following are breeds of hair sheep that may be seen in parts of the United States:

Barbados Blackbelly Barbados Blackbelly sheep are covered uniformly with brown hair, and have black hair on the legs, nose, forehead, and ears. Males have long hair that hangs under the neck and down over the brisket. Rams and ewes are polled. They are lightly muscled, especially in the hindquarter.

Dorper The Dorper was developed in South Africa, and is known as a mutton-type hair sheep. Dorper sheep were developed from the horned Dorset wool breed, and the Blackheaded Persian hair sheep. Dorpers have white bodies, and most have a black head, although the White Dorper has a white head (see Figure 12-18). They are hardy sheep that grow quickly to market weight. The Dorper does well on a range system, and has a highly marketable hide.

Katahdin (kah-tah-dihn) The Katahdin is a hair sheep that was developed in the United States in Maine. Katahdins are hardy sheep that produce meaty carcasses. The ewes lamb easily and are good mothers. Ewes have multiple offspring, and twins can be expected under good management. Katahdins do well in a range or pasture-based management system. Mature rams weigh between 180 and 250 pounds, and mature ewes weigh between 120 and 160 pounds.

St. Croix The St. Croix is also known as the Virgin Island White sheep. They were imported into the United States in 1975. St. Croix sheep are adaptable to a wide variety of climates, and forage well (see Figure 12-19). They are very prolific sheep, often having multiple lambs, and having the ability to lamb twice per year. Mature rams weigh 200 pounds, and mature ewes weigh 150 pounds. St. Croix sheep are still rare in the United States.



Other Wool Types

Black-faced Highland An example of a carpet wool sheep. The wool of a carpet wool sheep is coarse and long and is best suited for making nonwearable items, hence the name carpet wool. The Black-faced Highland is an old breed from Scotland that first came to the United States in the 1860s. These are small sheep with a black face and legs, and long coarse wool. The rams have long curling horns, and the ewes have shorter curved horns. These sheep are not very popular in the United States as a commercial breed, but have some popularity as a novelty breed.

Karakul (kar-ah-kool) Originally from Asia, the Karakul sheep is an ancient breed of fur sheep (see Figure 12-20), which means that the pelt of the animal is the primary product. The pelt is harvested from lambs of a few days of age, and is used for coats and other apparel. The wool of the adult is coarse, and the carcass quality is very poor. The Karakul is not popular in the United States.



Sheep Products

A variety of products are available from the sheep industry. The most consumed in the United States is meat; however, wool, fur, and hides are also marketable products, especially in specialty markets. The following are products from the sheep industry:

Lamb The meat of a young sheep. Lamb is juicy and flavorful, and popular throughout the world. Just as in other species, the carcass is divided into wholesale cuts (see Figure 12-21).

Breast The area that includes the lower ribs and abdomen. The breast, rolled breast, and stuffed breast are the retail cuts.

Leg The leg encompasses most of the hindquarter. Retail cuts include the leg of lamb, the boneless leg of lamb, the sirloin half leg of lamb, and the shank half leg of lamb.

Loin The loin is the area on the back where there are no ribs attached to the vertebrae. Retail cuts from the loin include the loin roast, the sirloin roast, the loin chop, and the sirloin chop. The term lamb chop refers to any of the chops.

Neck The neck includes the cervical vertebrae, and does not extend to the scapula. Neck slices are the retail cut.

Shank The shank is the front leg and includes the elbow. The foreshank is the retail cut.

Shoulder The shoulder cut includes the scapula, and extends down to the humerus. The retail cuts are the boneless shoulder roast, cushion shoulder roast, square shoulder roast, blade chop, and arm chop.

Rack The rack includes the ribs. Retail cuts are the rib roast, rib chops, and the crown roast.

Ground lamb Meat ground to a uniform texture and consistency, analogous to ground beef. Ground lamb can come from any part of the carcass, and can be used in a similar manner to other ground meat.

Milk Most sheep's milk is made into cheese. Over 50 kinds of cheese worldwide are made from sheep's milk, including feta (feh-tah) and ricotta (rih-kot-tah).

Mutton (mut-tohn) The meat of a sheep more than one year of age. Mutton has a reputation for being tough, stringy, and greasy, which has resulted in consumer rejection of the product.

Wool Economically, wool is a by-product of meat production. Most producers focus on meat production, and income from wool is secondary. Wool is graded based on the quality and texture of the fiber. The following three systems are used in grading (see Table 12-1):

American (blood) system Wool is graded in a comparative fashion, with the wool of animals of known percentage of Merino blood used as the standards of comparison. This system is losing favor in the industry because it is less precise than other systems of grading.

English (Bradford) system Wool is graded, and a number assigned based on how much yarn can be spun from one pound of wool. The finer the wool, the more yarn can be spun from each pound.

Micron system The most objective system of grading, the micron system assigns a grade based on the diameter of the wool fiber in microns.


Accelerated lambing The management practice of lambing three times in two years (spring, fall, spring). This requires the use of ewes that will breed out of season, as well as excellent record keeping and management.

Broken mouth The loss of teeth that usually indicates the individual is at least five years of age.

Culling The permanent removal of undesirable animals from a flock.

Dairy sheep Sheep breeds developed with a focus on milk production.

Dipping Immersing an animal in a liquid treatment for external parasites.

Docking Removal of most of the tail shortly after the birth of a lamb (see Figure 12-22).

Drenching A method of administering liquid medication to animals.

Dual-purpose Breeds developed for both meat and wool production.


Early spring lambs Those lambs born in January and February, from ewes that breed early in the breeding season.

Elastrator (e-lahs-tra-tar) A device used to put a rubber band around the tail for docking, or above the testicles for castration. The rubber band prevents circulation, and causes the tail or testicles to fall off. Ewe (yoo) Female sheep.

Ewe breeds (yoo) Breeds of sheep with excellent female production characteristics, such as number of lambs per lambing and mothering ability.

Fall lambs Lambs born before December 25, from breeds that will produce "out of season."

Farm flock Sheep raised in a pasture and farm situation. These flocks are raised predominately in the eastern portion of the United States.

Feeder lambs Lambs that are purchased after weaning and are raised and fed to market weight.

Fleece (fle-s) The wool removed from a sheep.

Flock expected progeny differences (FEPD) An estimated calculation of the genetic value of every animal in a flock (ram, ewe, or lamb), for which data is submitted to the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP). This is valuable for estimating the value of animals within a flock for their contribution to production of the flock.

Flocking instinct The desire of sheep to stay together in a flock is a very valuable quality in sheep that are maintained on rangeland.


Guard animals Animals that live with a flock of sheep to protect them from predators. Llamas, donkeys, and specialized breeds of dogs are commonly used.

Hair sheep Sheep that have fiber that is hair instead of wool. Most hair sheep were developed in warm climates.

Lamb Baby sheep. For marketing purposes, the following are several classifications of lambs:

Fed lambs Lambs that have been raised on grain.

Hothouse lambs Lambs less than three months of age.

Lambs Any young from seven months to one year old, raised on milk and grass.

Spring lambs Lambs between three and seven months old.

Lambing (lahm-ing) The delivery of lambs by the ewe.

Lambing pen An enclosure that separates the ewe from the rest of the flock for lambing (see Figure 12-23).

Late spring lambs Lambs born between March and May. These lambs were conceived at the height of the normal breeding season. Breeding at this time results in the most success getting ewes pregnant, and the most lambs per pregnancy, so late spring lambs are usually the largest percentage of the annual lamb crop. With this large group of lambs coming to market at the same time, market price is often lower for late spring lambs due to the abundant supply.

National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) A federal organization to assist breeders in making mating decisions.

Native ewes A term used to describe ewes that are best adapted to farm flock conditions. They are generally breeds that produce larger carcasses and more lambs per ewe when compared with Western ewes.

Open-face Sheep that have no wool on the face.

Predators Animals that kill sheep. Predator control is one of the major challenges for sheep producers. Coyotes are the largest problem in the western states, and dogs are the largest problem in other areas.


Quality grade As in beef cattle, a quality grade is assigned to sheep. Lambs and yearlings can be graded as (from best to least desirable) prime, choice, good, or utility. Quality grades for older sheep are choice, good, utility, and cull. Quality grades are assigned to live animals and to carcasses. Live-quality grade is based on conformation and the amount of finish on the animal, and carcass-quality grade is based on the quality of the meat, the amount of lean meat, and the distribution of fat.

Ram An intact male sheep.

Ram breeds Breeds of sheep from which the males are usually used for reproduction. The focus is on meat carcass traits and growth rate of lambs.

Range flock Sheep raised on the ranges of the western United States.

Shearing (sher-ing) The removal of wool from an animal. The wool is removed with a clipper, and should be removed in one piece (see Figure 12-24).

Slaughter sheep Also called slaughter lambs, these are animals that are being sold directly to slaughter.

Spinning The practice of transforming wool to yarn.

Staple The length of the wool fiber. Long staple wool is the most valuable.

Synchronized breeding Hormonal manipulation of ewes so they all come into estrus at a similar time. This shortens both the breeding season, and the lambing season.

Western ewes Ewes that are well adapted to range flock conditions. They may have smaller lamb crops, but are hardy and disease-resistant. Western ewes thrive better in farm conditions than native ewes in range conditions.

Wether (weth-er) A castrated male sheep (see Figure 12-25).

Wool blindness A condition in which wool covers the eyes. This condition is of special concern in range sheep.

Wool cap The wool on some sheep breeds that comes over the poll and down onto the forehead of the sheep.


Wool cooperative An organization that helps producers sell wool.

Wool pool A method of selling wool by consigning it into a group. Consigned wool is graded and sold based on the grade.

Yearling A sheep between one and two years old. A classification used when marketing sheep.

Yield grade Grading that ranges from yield grade 1 (best) to yield grade 5 (worst), and is based on the amount of backfat.


Goats have been domesticated for human use for thousands of years. They produce meat and milk, as well as hide for leather. When explorers were traveling around the world, goats often accompanied them as they were smaller and could produce on a wider variety of forages than cattle. Although the market for goat meat and milk in the United States has historically been low, that is changing. As the country becomes home to more diverse ethnic groups, the market for goat meat is growing.

Goat Breeds

Angora (ahng-gor-ah) A breed of goat developed in Asia for the production of the hair known as mohair. The goats are white, and have no fleece on the face (see Figure 12-26). Most animals are horned. Texas is the leading producer of mohair in the world. Angora goats also produce meat, but the mohair is the primary product.

Boer (bo-er) A breed of goat from South Africa that was developed for its meat carcass characteristics. The goats have a short white coat with red markings. They are usually horned, although polled individuals are available. The breed was recently imported into the United States, and is growing in popularity both as a purebreed, and for crossing with dairy goats to create a higher-quality carcass.



French Alpine (ahl-py-n) A breed of dairy goat, the French Alpine was imported into the United States in the 1920s. The goats range in color from fawn, red, black, and white, or patterned with white. The ears are erect and they have a short, fine hair coat (see Figure 12-27).

LaMancha (lah-mahn-tcha) The LaMancha is one of the most easily recognized of the goat breeds because of its extremely short ears. This dairy goat can have a gopher ear, which is less than one inch in length, or an elf ear, which can be up to two inches long. The goat can be any color, and the face has a straight profile. The gopher ear is strongly desired, and bucks with an elf ear are not eligible for registration.

Nubian (new-be--ahn) The Nubian was developed in Africa.When imported to England, the Nubian was crossed with native dairy goats to produce the breed we see today. The Nubian can be any color, and is characterized by a large drooping ear and a convex Roman-nosed profile. Nubians are good producers of milk, and have high butterfat in their milk.

Pygmy goats Pygmy goats are from the Cameroon area of Africa, and were first imported for zoos and other exhibitions. Pygmies are less than 23 inches tall, with relatively short legs and long bodies, and come in a wide variety of colors (see Figure 12-28). They are used for meat and milk, as well as for pets.



Saanen (sah-nehn) The Saanen is a cream to white goat from Switzerland that was first imported to the United States in the early 1900s. Saanens have erect ears, most are polled, and both does and bucks may have beards (see Figure 12-29).

Spanish goats A breed developed as a composite of a variety of dairy and native breeds. Spanish goats are raised primarily for meat production. Unique to some other breeds, Spanish goats will breed year-round, and will have kids twice a year (see Figure 12-30). Spanish goats are being crossed with Boer goats to improve meat production and quality.

Toggenburg (tahg-ehn-berg) The Toggenburgs are also from Switzerland, and range from fawn to dark brown in color. A distinctive characteristic of this breed is the white line from the eyes down to the muzzle (see Figure 12-31). They may be horned or polled and have erect ears. Some individuals have wattles, which is skin hanging below the chin.

Goat Products

Although the market for goat products is small in the United States, some areas of that market are growing. The following are products that are derived from goats:



Butter Made from the cream of goat's milk. Goat butter is whiter than cow butter.

Cabrito (ka-bre-to) The meat of young goats less than 50 pounds.

Cashmere (cazh-mer) The fine undercoat of goats. Cashmere can be harvested from any goat. The most desirable cashmere comes from solid-colored animals.

Cheese The primary product of dairy goat production is milk for cheese. Soft or hard cheeses can be made from goat's milk.

Chevon (shehv-ehn) Goat meat.

Milk There is a limited market for fresh or evaporated goat's milk. For some people it is more palatable than cow's milk. Just as in milk from dairy cattle, there is variation in the fat and protein in dairy goat milk based on breed (see Table 12-2).

Mohair (mo-har) The hair of an Angora goat. When federal price supports for mohair ended in the 1990s, production decreased.

Management Terms for Goats

Buck An intact male goat.

Clip The hair harvested from one animal in one shearing.

Dairy goats Goats bred primarily for their milk-producing ability.

Doe (do) A female goat.

Dual-purpose Goats bred for meat and milk production.

Ear notching The practice of making notches in the ear for permanent identification that is most often used with Angora goats raised in range conditions.

Fiber goats Goats bred and kept for their hair. Kid A baby goat.

Kidding Parturition in goats.

Meat goats Any goats bred for meat production, regardless of breed. Historically, meat goats have not been of a specific breed, but the use of breeds such as the Boer has led to significant improvement in carcass quality.

Milking equipment Large dairy goatherds use mechanical milking equipment similar to those used in dairy cow herds.

Shearing The removal of the fleece from a goat. Angoras are sheared twice annually.

Tattooing Permanently identifying animals with a unique number tattooed in the ear. In LaMancha goats, the tattoo is under the tail.

Wether A castrated male goat.

Management Terms for Sheep and Goats

Browse (browz) The woody twigs and leaves that goats consume as part of their diets. These are generally the younger parts of the plants that are higher in nutritional value.

Flock A group of sheep or goats.

Flushing Increasing the feed for a female prior to breeding to increase reproductive efficiency.

Mixed-grazing The practice of grazing sheep or goats, with cattle, on the same land. Cattle consume the grass, and sheep and goats consume the browse.

Multiple birth The delivery of more than one offspring. Some breeds are more likely to have multiple births than others.

Seasonal breeder An animal that comes into estrus and can be bred only at certain times of the year. Seasonal breeders are often categorized as long-day or short-day breeders, depending on whether they begin to cycle as days grow longer, or as days grow shorter. Sheep and goats are short-day breeders, and are bred in the fall for spring lambs or kids.

Singleton One offspring born.


The sheep and goat industries are small components of overall animal agriculture in the United States. Although sheep and goats were two of the first species to be domesticated, and are raised throughout the world, consumer demand for these products in the United States is not strong. There is a growing specialty market in areas with ethnic groups that consume goat and sheep products. Meat, milk, and fiber are the primary products of these industries, with mohair being the fiber produced by goats. There is potential for growth in the area of specialty products from these animals.

Match the breed of sheep or goat with the description

1. -- Lincoln       a. Kept primarily as a pet.

2. -- Angora        b. The most popular sheep breed in the
                       United States.

3. -- Nubian        c. A hair sheep.

4. -- Suffolk       d. An old breed of sheep that was integral
                       in the development of many other breeds.

5. -- Katahdin      e. A goat with very small ears.

6. -- Merino        f. A goat with large, floppy ears.

7. -- Saanen        g. A large sheep with some wool on the
                       face and legs.

8. -- LaMancha      h. The largest breed of sheep.

9. -- Hampshire     i. A goat raised for its hair.

10. -- Pygmy goat   j. A white or cream-colored dairy goat.

11. Which breed of goat is raised primarily for meat production?

a. French Alpine

b. Boer

c. Toggenburg

d. Angora

12. What device can be used to castrate lambs?

a. Elastrator

b. Browser

c. Spinner

d. Tilt table

13. What is the term for a baby goat?

a. Lamb

b. Calf

c. Kid

d. Wether

14. What are the wool types by which sheep breeds are categorized?

15. What practice involves feeding females more to increase
reproductive efficiency?

16. What are the market classifications of lambs?

17. What is a wether?

18. What breed of sheep sets the standard for wool quality?

19. What is culling?

Chapter Objectives

-- Learn the major sheep and goat breeds

-- Learn the major products from sheep and
goats, and how they are used

-- Understand the historical role of sheep and

-- Learn the basic management terms relative to
sheep and goats

TABLE 12-1
Comparison of wool grading systems and the grades of wool produced
by different breeds

American                                       Average fiber
blood system                USDA grades        diameter (microns) *

Fine                        Finer than 80s     17.69 or less
                            80s                17.70-19.14
                            70s                19.15-20.59
                            64s                20.60-22.04

1/2 Blood                   62s                22.05-23.49
                            60s                23.50-24.94

3/8 Blood                   58s                24.95-26.39
                            56s                26.40-27.84

1/4 Blood                   54s                27.85-29.29
                            50s                29.30-30.99

Low 1/4 Blood               48s                31.00-32.69
                            46s                32.70-34.39

Common                      44s                34.40-36.19

Braid                       40s                36.20-38.09
                            36s                38.10-40.20
                            Coarser than 36s   40.21 or more

  Breeds of sheep typically producing
   grades of wool in range indicated

Delaine Merino--            80s or finer
Rambouillet--               64s-70s

Targhee--                   62s

Romeldale--                 58s-60s

Corriedale--                60s

Southdown--                 56s-60s
Hampshire, Shropshire--     56s-60s

Suffolk--                   54s-58s
Columbia--                  50s-58s

Dorset--                    50s-56s
Cheviot--                   48s-50s

Oxford--                    46s-50s
Tunis, Romney--             44s-48s
Leicester--                 40s-46s

Lincoln, Cotswold--         36s-40s
Highland--                  36s or coarse

* A micron is 1/25, 400 of an inch.

Source: USDA.

TABLE 12-2
Averages of DHI goat herds by Breed. DHI Report K-3, USDA

                   Records                       Protein

                                 Milk   Fat
State          Herds  Doe-years  (lb)   (lb)  Herds  Doe-years  (lb)

Alpine            58      1,769  2,085   69      53      1,684   62
Experimental       4         98  1,528   56       4         98   45
LaMancha          42        714  1,799   66      40        679   55
Mixed Breed      109      6,123  1,760   62      99      5,443   55
Nubian            84      1,121  1,459   66      79      1,084   52
Oberhasli         18        221  1,830   64      18        221   52
Saanen            32        658  1,986   71      32        658   57
Toggenburg        23        301  1,665   57      22        293   47
All Breeds       370     11,004  1,794   64     347     10,159   55
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Author:Brady, Colleen
Publication:An Illustrated Guide to Animal Science Terminology
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2008
Previous Article:Chapter 11 Poultry.
Next Article:Chapter 13 Alternative production animals.

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