Yesterday, on our walk down the side lane, I was excited to see a goat in the distance but, as we got closer, the single goat turned into a flock of sheep.


I stared at them, for ages, trying to decide if they were sheep or goats, or even both. It was the floppy ears that had me confused. Upon Googling, I found that sheep and goats can interbreed, but it’s rare for they have a differing number of chromosomes, presenting survival difficulties.

Below, this black sheep has a woolly coat and, by the longer bits on the shoulder, looks like it has not long shed. I learned that the top lip determines a sheep from a goat. Since this has a split top lip, it’s a sheep.


The division in the top lip is better seen in this next tan-coloured one. Their eating habits differ – a sheep grazes, as these do, but a goat eats bushes and twigs, stuff off the ground.


But look at the coat on that little spotted on at the back – not particularly woolly.   And then there are the tails. A sheep’s tail will hang down. A goat’s sticks up. In the end, I had to admit all of them were sheep – despite the gangly legs and floppy ears. Still, it’s great to have some new animals within easy reach of the Nikon D3000.

Thanks for looking. Stay safe.




How to tell a sheep from a goat?


9 thoughts on “How to tell a sheep from a goat?

  1. sue says:

    Yep, I can see your dilemma. That was a hard one but you have learned something new. Would have sworn the dark brown one was a goat.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The confusion between sheep and goats go deeper than mere appearances. Before the advent of dna testing, archaeologists couldn’t distinguish between their bones. Were sheep domesticate first, or sheep?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Deepingman says:

    Another difference is in their toilet habits. Goats will only defecate in an area where they do not eat. Whereas sheep, like all grazes just do it wherever they are.

    Liked by 1 person

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