A lamb is a baby sheep. They are born to a ewe, or female sheep, and can stand, walk, and run very soon after they are born. At first, lambs are highly dependent on their mothers for milk. However, in just a few days after birth, they will begin nibbling on grasses and hay. Gradually, their need for mother's milk will diminish as they receive more of their daily nourishment from grazing.
Scientific & Common Names
Genus - Ovis
Species - O. orientalis (Mouflon - believed to be the wild ancestor of the domestic sheep), O. aries (Domestic Sheep). Lamb refers to a baby sheep.
Lambs are some of the most lovable baby animals on the farm. They are born very small, weighing only five to eight pounds at first. They are covered with a short, wooly coat that will eventually grow until it needs to be sheared. Sheep can be white, brown, black, gray, silver, or spotted. Some sheep have different colored wool on their bodies than they do on their heads. Many breeds of lambs are born with long tails, but the shepherds of domesticated flocks typically dock (trim) the tails to keep the sheep healthier and prevent parasites from infesting manure-coated tails. A few breeds of sheep do not have wool; rather, they have a hair coat that is shed once a year.
Most lambs are born in the spring. They are often born as twins or triplets. The lamb is considered a lamb until it is about a year of age, at which time it can be used for breeding. Many rams (male sheep) are castrated when they are small unless the shepherd plans to use them for breeding. A castrated male sheep is called a wether.
Lambs are frisky and playful, spending plenty of time romping in the fields with one another. Lambs, like all sheep, are social animals, preferring to remain in a group of other sheep. Lambs spend their time exploring, nursing milk from their mothers, grazing, and sleeping.
Sheep originated in Western Asia and the Middle East. During the Stone Age, people caught and tamed wild sheep, breeding them so that they would be less intelligent and easier to keep than wild sheep. By the time of the Roman Empire, sheep had spread all over the world, and shepherds were breeding sheep to accentuate specific characteristics. By this time, sheep were used for meat, milk, and wool.
Large numbers of domesticated sheep exist in places like Australia, New Zealand, and Argentina. Likewise, China, South Africa, Great Britain, and the United States have plenty of sheep. Wild sheep live in a variety of countries, mostly in mountainous, rocky regions.