Sheep, scientifically known as Ovis aries, are domesticated animals commonly found on farms. They are raised for their wool, meat, and milk, alongside other livestock like goats, pigs, and cattle. In fact, sheep were among the first animals to be domesticated. According to the FAO, they have the largest number of recorded breeds among mammals.
Sheep breeds are usually categorized according to their primary purpose, the type of fibers they produce, or certain physical traits. For instance, wool sheep are classified as Ovis aries aries. While some sheep breeds are raised solely for their meat or wool, others serve a dual purpose, like the medium wool meat sheep.
Different Sheep Breeds for Different Wool Types
Different breeds of sheep are suitable for different wool types. Some of the most well-known wool sheep include the Merino, Rambouillet, Blue Faced Leicester, and Corriedale breeds. On the other hand, the Texel and Dorset breeds are ideal for meat production.
All Wool Finds Its Use
Wool from sheep can be used for various purposes depending on its coarseness, fiber length, and crimp. Despite the breed that produced it, wool is a versatile fiber with many different qualities. Fine wool is typically used for clothing, while coarser wool is used for carpets and furnishings such as curtains or bedding. A single sheep can provide approximately 4.5 kg of wool annually, equivalent to 10 or more meters of fabric. This is enough to make six sweaters, three suits, and trouser combinations, or to cover one large sofa.