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Featured article Sheep is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on September 7, 2008.
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January 7, 2008 Good article nominee Listed
February 13, 2008 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article



This article is a mile too long. for example: lets look at cattle. the information on the cattle page is directly related to the beast itself, and has a separate article on beef as a food. even though lamb has a separate article on the meat of sheep, the subarticle in sheep "as food" should be merged into "lamb and mutton" or simply deleted. these are the first steps to shortening the page. any objections? Destroyer000 (talk) 03:42, 11 September 2008 (UTC)


The following links need a disambig:
itch mite
lamb chops
native american
Randomblue (talk) 19:25, 13 February 2008 (UTC).
N.B. I'm quite surprised there are so many disambig for such a recent featured article.

There is no applicable disambig for itch mite. Wikipedia doesn't have an article on the exact species. VanTucky 19:39, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
What about the other links? Randomblue (talk) 16:21, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Chronological problem[edit]

How could Robert Bakewell (farmer), who died in 1795, be "influenced by the work of Gregor Mendel and Charles Darwin"?? AnonMoos (talk) 17:24, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

It should not say that. It's the exact opposite: Mendel and Darwin were influenced by Bakewell. I wonder what bozo (not you) switched that around in the FAC, several sources make the chronology quite plain... VanTucky 22:09, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Predation and protection[edit]

"More modern shepherds used guns, traps, and poisons to kill predators, causing significant decreases in predator populations. In the wake of the environmental and conservation movements, the use of these methods now usually falls under the purview of specially designated government agencies, rather than sheep producers."

Meseems it bears mentioning somewhere here that in many areas, local or (in the US) state law gives special provision for owners of animals considered "livestock", such as sheep, cows, chickens, et cetera, whether they be kept as livestock or not (for example, pygmy goats or bantom chickens raised as pets rather than livestock, but given that designation nevertheless due to the species they belong to), to kill any predator, no matter how endangered, if and only if the individual predatory animal in question represents a clear and obvious threat to the "livestock" population (such as a cougar that lives near stalks about a herd of cattle, or has already killed members of the heard). It shouldn't be too difficult to find a reference for that.

Though the reason for this has traditionally been to protect the livelihood of the livestock owner, one would think (though I'd imagine this would be much more difficult to find a reference for) that allowing predators to gorge themselves on pets and livestock would exert unwanted selective pressure on the predators in question, making them more specialized for and therefore to at least some degree dependent upon domestic prey and therefore human beings themselves, with potentially devistating effects on natural eco-systems. By contrast (and again, this would probably be difficult to find a reference for) killing only those individual predators (as opposed to whole populations or even species of predators, as was practiced in the past) that pose a significant threat to humans or domestic animals (I needn't remind anyone that human civilization is an invention of humans themselves, and that modern humans, having not been domesticated by some other species, must therefore be regarded as entirely wild animals and therefore an exception to the rule that only domestic animals be accorded such protection) should theoretically reduce the risk of such specialization and select for greater independence from human presence, despite what small, and if this sort of selective pressure affects aforesaid behavioral or mayhap even morphological (de-)specialization, temporary negative impact this might have on the size of wild populations.

Now I realize this is a lot of very general information probably belonging in another article entirely, but relevent enough that an abreviated summary and a link or two to (a) page(s) with more detailed information is, I think, warrented. --Þórrstejn [ˡθoɝ.staɪʲn]: Hammer of Thor talk 10:52, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

That's not what I found in the source material. Generally speaking, U.S. laws forbid killing of protected predators except when the animals are caught in the act of attacking livestock. Mere proximity isn't enough cause for a non-governmental agent to use deadly force against protected species. Remember the article is supposed to be a general overview, but there's a reason the passage says "now usually". There are always exceptions to a rule, and sheep producers may simply ignore the law. VanTucky 20:42, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Oldest sheep[edit]

A trivia perhaps, but the article states the oldest sheep as being 20, while E. Straiton display a supposedly 27 year old ewe on page 89 of "Sheep ailments, recognition and treatment" ISBN 1-86126-397-x But of course, extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. EverGreg (talk) 20:30, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Well, what year was the book published in? I ask because many older sheep books have glaring inaccuracies in them. Anyway, 20 is really meant to be the reasonable average top age. There have been a handful of people who lived until their 120's, but the article supposed to speak in general about sheep. I'll look around and see if I can corroborate some 20+ sheep. VanTucky 20:37, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
It was published in 2001 (7th edition) but could have been carried on from earlier editions of course. In any case, there's probably no official guinness record for oldest sheep. Well-documented cases at best. EverGreg (talk) 08:09, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Does semi-protection actually do anything?[edit]

Over the past 2 days, this page has been vandalized or otherwise burdened with incorrect edits by anonymous users many times. The entire time, it's had a semi-protected mark on it, which says that editing by IP users is prevented. What's going on? Dvd Avins (talk) 21:01, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

Recently there was a cartoon posted on the internet that caused fans to recreate what occured for laughs. Said cartoon is at --Techokami (talk) 15:46, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Crafty sheep conquer cattle grids[edit]

Interesting that the article developed in April. Looks like someone has been taken as a fool. Grass growing through/or near the grid also indicates a spot where sheep could cross, too. Cgoodwin (talk) 01:17, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

I agree, dubious at best. And as for the BBC being a reliable resource, arent they the ones who write drivel like this: as well as being involved in vandalism right here on wikipedia: —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bugguyak (talkcontribs) 19:03, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
I disagree. I think you're basing you're scepticism on a preconceived notion of what sheep can and cannot do, rather than the reliability of the BBC. It's got an editorial staff and fact checking, and that meets WP:RS. VanTucky 21:12, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
there are a lot of online references supporting the BBC article, including some from local papers where this is alleged to have occured. It's quirky, but I think true and interesting, so it should be included.Bob98133 (talk) 14:46, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
(Is there some of this discussion elsewhere..? Also, didn't we have some discussion about it a few months back?)
There are a number of serious problems with this idea, and at present I do not think we can say any more than "it has been claimed by some" or some such weasel words. The BBC is generally very reliable, but their report of this is not, for several reasons:
  • It is not a "proper" news story, but a rather light-hearted item which is primarily about sheep trespasses, rather than their methods of escape. The sheep-rolling is not the kind of fact I would have expected a local BBC reporter to have checked directly.
  • The BBC do not present any direct evidence that it happened, they only report what a local councillor claims to have seen. This means that the report is actually hearsay – from a person who has a strong interest in the case. For example, it would only be a slight exaggeration for her to claim to have seen something reported to her by a constituent. We are not in fact relying on the BBC, but on a minor politician of unknown veracity. I've met a lot of local councillors, and they are certainly not a uniformly reliable bunch...
  • The claimed phenomenon is contrary to ungulate behaviour. It is simply not the way sheep think. They can be very agile on their feet, but are clumsy when lying down. Because of this it is an extraordinary claim, and needs very good evidence indeed.
  • As C Goodwin points out, the grid does not even look sheep-proof anyway...
To include this as a fact, we need much better, more direct evidence.--Richard New Forest (talk) 19:21, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

Check out: [[1]]- this article allegedly quotes local people, talks about another security fence built to defeat escaping sheep. Bob98133 (talk) 22:54, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

Sheep can jump, cross at the sides and walk along wide bed logs beneath a grid, walk across shallow grids but they CANNOT ROLL across grids. It is physically impossible for sheep to do so. Was the woman drunk, blind, or was it dark?? Cgoodwin (talk) 22:37, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
Maybe all three! I agree that it sounds incredible but I'm constantly surprised at incredible things that turn out to be true. There is way too much media on this for it to be an April Fools joke. If nothing else, I think it should be included with a disclaimer of some sort.Bob98133 (talk) 22:53, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
Cgoodwin, you seem to basing your disagreement with the article on your personal experience with sheep. Any one person's experience with sheep does not contradict an article by a major international news organization which is describing a behavior which is plainly stated to be completely unique to one flock. It's being used in the article as a stand-alone example of the sometimes surprising craftyness and ability to learn of sheep, not as an example of a general behavioral trait. VanTucky 02:15, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

I do not dispute the ability of sheep to learn only their physical abilities when on a regular grid. From another who queried the rolling ability:

"Widely reported" does not mean it happened, only that lots of people said it did. The same applies to British big cats, Nessie, Emmaville Panther, flying saucers and whatnot. Rolling sheep may be a bit more likely than those, but until it's got solid evidence it doesn't matter how many people say they've heard of it. In fact I think one of the refs may actually be a counter-ref – the Independent article is saying it's a "silly season" story, and I think the implication is that it'd be reported whether (wether..?) it happened or not.

The web is full of duplicated errors!! At the end of the day this statement puts a query on a well written article's accuracy. Cgoodwin (talk) 02:52, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

Yes, you're right in one respect. Widely reported can be applied to aliens and such. But the key point you're missing is that on Wikipedia, we are here to enforce verifiability, not the truth. If a reliable source, like the BBC, says something happened, then we say that it did. If you find it dubious, we can attribute it to the BBC and let people judge whether they want to trust the source or not. But removing something you personally think is factually dubious based on personal experience when it's verified by decent sourcing is directly in contradiction with our core policies. VanTucky Vote in my weird poll! 04:29, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
As I said above, the BBC is not a reliable source for this fact, it is only a reliable source for the existence of someone who says it happened. In this instance the BBC is not really a "major international news organisation" – this is a local story, done by a non-specialist local reporter. The important fact in the story is that sheep were getting into gardens etc; the sheep-rolling is just an amusing hook for the story. The reporter will have been careful to avoid libelling anyone (so for example they would not call the councillor a liar without solid evidence), but they would not check the sheep behaviour directly without further reason. Apart from anything else, such a reporter would not know the difference between a probably impossible sheep behaviour and any of the many other seemingly incomprehensible things that happen in the countryside. Like almost everyone nowadays, reporters are townies!
From the wording of the article it is perfectly clear that the BBC have not checked the rolling independently. If they had checked it, they would have certainly included other statements such as "we actually saw the sheep rolling", "we were shown video", "a sheep behaviour expert confirmed", "locals gather in crowds to watch the sheep rolling" or some such, any of which would be much more interesting than a mere "the councillor said she saw". The quote from the councillor is the only evidence actually offered, and it is therefore clear that it's the only evidence available. Effectively the BBC are saying "we were told this, judge for yourself". For that reason we cannot attribute the information to the BBC and judge for ourselves, we must judge the witness directly.
The BBC is not the primary source, and the primary source is not sufficiently reliable. --Richard New Forest (talk) 09:14, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
This sheep story is sort of cute, but really not necessary for the article, since it's obviously the exception (assuming it ever happened). Since there is so much disagreement about it, I reverse my opinion and say we should leave it out of the article; at least until some reliable source is found for it, if that ever happens.Bob98133 (talk) 14:18, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

This claim still does not have a reliable source, for the reasons I gave above. In this case both The Guardian and the BBC are reliable sources only for the fact that Ms Lindley says she saw it. She is not a reliable source, and as I said before, it is also clear that she is the only source. For all we know she is lying or exaggerating, or was hallucinating or simply mistaken. Until we do have a reliable source, this remains unsubstantiated hearsay for a behaviour which is, as CGoodwin says, entirely against the psychology of sheep. Sheep are not stupid animals, but is clear to anyone who knows anything practical about them that these animals must have just walked across, a common behaviour which I have seen myself.

The behaviour as currently stated should be removed from the article – the very most we can say on the present evidence is that "it is claimed that" or "some people believe that". Any contrary view must explain how Ms Linley is a reliable source. --Richard New Forest (talk) 21:53, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

The basic fact of the matter is: your personal doubts about the truth of the matter have zero bearing on the contents of this article if they are verified by multiple reliable sources. As you well know, Wikipedia is based on verifiability, not truth. Just because you find it implausible that something happened, doesn't mean squat. If multiple sources that meet our policy on what constitutes a reliable source say something occurred, then Wikipedia says so too. The Guardian and the BBC are long standing in their reliability, with a reputation for fact checking and a defined editorial structure in publishing. That clearly meets Wikipedia standards. We don't disregard reliable sources when they fail to fit within our personal opinions on a matter. We are a compendium of knowledge distilled from published sources, not individuals. Stop trying to cull information you find outlandish based solely on your personal sphere of experience with sheep. VanTucky 04:05, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
Van – it's nothing to do with my personal doubts, personal experience or personal opinion. The only relevance of my personal experience (and that of CGoodwin) is that it helps make it obvious that this is an extraordinary claim. Extraordinary claims need particularly good evidence, and this claim is not supported by a reliable source – you have still not explained how Ms Lindley is one. I am not challenging the reliability of the BBC or Guardian, which of course do indeed meet Wiki standards – but they are not sources for the behaviour itself. When any reliable source gives a direct report of the behaviour, then they would become reliable sources for that and I would be happy to see it included. (Very surprised, but happy.) Until then all we have sources for is the existence of Ms Linley's statement of what she says she saw. If that was all we needed, we'd be reporting alien abductions, cryptic animals, Elvis-still-alive and all sorts as fact. Richard New Forest (talk) 09:09, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
Sorry. This sheep behavior is only extraordinary to you. I know nothing about sheep, so I am willing to believe the Guardian, BBC and many other sources. If this were a hoax, it would be widely reported as such. You seem to be claiming that reliable sources are only reliable if you agree with them. If you don't agree, then they are extraordinary. Instead of challenging a well-referenced item, why not find references that contradict this behaviour - maybe scientists who claim that sheep can't roll over, or whatever. If this behavior is as impossible as you suggest, it should be easily discredited.Bob98133 (talk) 13:56, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
That's just the point: it is not referenced, let alone well-referenced. It should be removed or tamed until a reference is found for the behaviour, rather than for the claim. It's not that I don't agree with it – there are many well-referenced facts which I might find surprising, and I'm always prepared to be educated. It's that it's a surprising claim with no real evidence to support it. I'd have no argument if the references were for the behaviour itself, however surprising. Richard New Forest (talk) 14:31, amended 18:22, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Th term for a cast sheep is as per Glossary of Sheep Husbandry: "Riggwelter – a sheep that has fallen onto its back and is unable to get up (usually because of the weight of its fleece)" but other causes may be lambing, a back downhill, or even a tussock making it difficult or impossible for the animal to regain its feet. The ewe in the photo was healthy and in good condition, but unable to regain her feet. Many sheep die if they are not found and put back onto their feet. As I said before sheep can cross grids but not by rolling over them. There are over 900,000 sheep around here and hundreds of grids, too, so I know a bit about both. It just seems a shame that fallacies such as this are perpetuatated in a article like this.Cgoodwin (talk) 07:13, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

But saying no sheep could ever role, hence the BBC is unreliable requires a source. The quote above only gives a definition of a word for sheep that cannot, including reasons why they cannot, impplying that without these resons there would be no problem. Saying sheep have been reported to role is true and is sourced.Yobmod (talk) 10:07, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, the statement that sheep have been reported to roll is true – but this is an article about what sheep do, not about what has been reported about them. It could accurately be included under sheep folklore, but not about sheep behaviour. And (yet again) the BBC is not the source for this, the quoted unreliable councillor is. Richard New Forest (talk) 21:00, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

A former colleague (and current friend) of mine witnessed sheep rolling across a cattle grid at Elterwater in Cumbria, circa 1980/81. I believe his account; he had no reason to say otherwise. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:26, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Very interesting. Did he take any photographs, or publish an account? Richard New Forest (talk) 21:49, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

I have wached sheep role under fneces to get to the other side, and I have not been around very many sheep. this much I can say is true sheep are very agile and in the wild will walk on a narrow edge of rock along the side of a cliff which would prove difficult for a human to do, humans can quite easily walk across a cattle guard and it would not be outlandish for a sheep to walk striate across a cattle guard. as for rolling across this would take at least three revolutions of the sheeps body because a small cattle guard is 8'x12' and the sheep is about 2' around. E. Theodore Breedlove (Biological Science Technician) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:32, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

When you say "roll under fences" do you mean crawl on their bellies? Sheep will often wriggle through small gaps under fences with their bellies on the ground, but always with their bodies right way up (if they rolled, I think their legs would tangle in the fence). The only way I've seen any ungulate go under a fence any other way up is when they've slipped or been pushed over, have slid under the fence on their side, then have stood up on the other side (I've seen this several times with foals and calves; not actually with sheep). I don't think they could do this maneouvre deliberately though. On one occasion the other side of the fence was a river, and we had to pull the 150 kg still upside-down struggling calf out by his legs, under the fence, before his head went under, while the other cattle continued to barge against the fence all around... Richard New Forest (talk) 15:39, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Featured Article[edit]

Please add the link {{Link FA|ca}}, just been awarded --Panotxa (talk) 05:24, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

Criticism of Australia and Mulesing[edit]

Having read "The practice of mulesing, in which skin is cut away from an animal's perineal area without anesthesia to prevent cases of flystrike, has been condemned widely as painful and unnecessary.[93] In response, a program of phasing out mulesing is currently being implemented,[94] New Zealand has already phased out the procedure.[95]" I personally feel that this is not 100% NPOV. There is no explanation of what exactly mulesing is, yet it is quick to say its painful (which I agree with, in a way) and "unnecessary" (have you ever seen a flyblown sheep, its not pretty). I believe that a quick explanation of why mulesing is necessary, beyond a passing mention. There should at least be a mention of why it's done. (talk) 08:17, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

There is a wikilink to mulesing which explains this pretty well. I don't disagree with what you say, but adding a lot more would be a diversion on this page since it is covered elsewhere. Since Australia wool growers have agreed to phase this out in a few years, I don't see how it could be necessary, except economically. Bob98133 (talk) 13:23, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

I agree that it can't get too long, however the article in its present form only mentions the word "flystrike" once, without explaining it in any way, and then stating whats bad about mulesing. The problem with wikilinks is that someone doing a school project, for instance may not fully investigate information on other pages and make false assumptions. A quick mention of what flystrike is would help in this case. (talk) 07:04, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

I have made some changes to this section based on current practice. See discussion below, moved from Steven Wallings Talk page. On a second point, the second paragraph in this section is not even 10% NPOV. Will have a go at that one once I have the time to source some relevant references. Regards, (talk) 11:42, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Graphic images[edit]

Outside of the fact that there are still way too many pictures on this article as it is, are the graphic images really that necessary? Do we really need to see a graphic picture of a mutilated sheep to get that coyotes attack sheep? Aren't there less graphic ways of getting the point across? AjaaniSherisu (talk) 08:18, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

First, there are not way too many pictures. You're literally the only person who has ever suggested this, including in FAC. Second, we're not censored for graphic sensitivity or taste. The best image to illustrate what predation of sheep looks like is an image of a sheep which has been preyed upon. So in other words, yes. It is really necessary. I'll fight tooth and nail to keep such images in the article, as I feel they are 100% vital to our educational mission here. Steven Walling (talk) 19:32, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
But wouldn't the picture of the sheep being attacked already be an illustration of that? Why is it necessary to show both those pictures? AjaaniSherisu (talk) 12:55, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
Because it shows a feeding pattern typical of most canid predators on a domestic lamb, beleive me that is not very graphic at all considering sometimes coyotes feed on lambs by first evicerating them and feeding on the organs while the lamb is still alive. However if you still feel the image is too graphic for your tastes, I could replace it with this one that has not been fed upon:
Ewe with coyote throat wound.jpg Bugguyak (talk) 22:46, 17 August 2008 (UTC)


Why have you reverted my edit on sheep? Do you believe that mulesing is undertaken solely without anaesthetic? This is not exclusive current practice, many operators are now using the Better Choices programme, It's strange to witness such an experienced wiki editor not do some basic research before reverting a good faith edit. I expect that you will change it back. Regards, (talk) 11:16, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

The sole test for inclusion of material in an article is verifiability, not truth. None of the reliable, secondary sources used in the article confirm that mulesing is performed with anesthetic. If you'd provide a reliable, secondary source, then I'd be happy to alter the article. Otherwise it should stay as it is. Steven Walling (talk) 18:46, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Mulesing is not performed exclusively with anaesthetic or exclusively without. There are no reliable secondary sources in the article that state mulesing is performed exclusively without anaesthesia, so using those guidelines the qualification “without anaesthetic” should be removed from the article regardless. However, here’s an article that may meet your requirements. Cheers, (talk) 22:26, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
G'day Steve, just bumping this as you have not responded. Does the above linked document provide a reliable source for you to alter the article? If not, what further information do you think is required?
Both of the above comments come from the one person, despite the different IP addresses. Also, if you would like to move this thread to the Sheep talk page that would be good with me. Cheers, Tom. (talk) 08:14, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
Actually, that's a perfectly fine source. Thanks for tracking it down. You're more than welcome to edit the article again if you like, adding the source (just use the <ref> markup you can read more about in WP:CITE). But if you're not comfortable, I'll do it soon as I get a chance. Steven Walling (talk) 23:11, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

The above was moved from Steven Walling's Talk page, as it is more relevant here. Regards, (talk) 11:48, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Chapters 72-25[edit]

A reference presently numbered 76 says: "# ^ a b Pliny the Elder (AD 77), Naturalis Historia, pp. Chapters 72-25, <;query=chapter%3D%23397;layout=;loc=8.73>. Retrieved on 29 December 2007". Chapter 72-25 is probably a typo because 72 should come after 25, but what should it be? The url somehow appears only if you copy or edit the text, and it leads to something called "CHAP. 72. (47.)--SHEEP, AND THEIR PROPAGATION." Art LaPella (talk) 00:38, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

I'll take a closer look, but if my memory serves me it was meant to be chapters 72 to 75. Steven Walling (talk) 00:39, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

Quoted prices for "(some of the) most valuable" sheep (nebulous)[edit]

Under breeds section, remove the (passive voice?) "Some of the most valuable sheep were Australian Merino" reference pointing to . Quote doesn't really belong in a breed overview section unless the absolute maximum price ever paid for a sheep, perhaps, and that's a long way off compared with for 2002, for example.
By all means, it might not hurt to have such a section discussing relative "values" of different breeds, pedigree rams, etc., explaining why in detail, but that rather jarred in a FA article when referring to a single sale where prices were demonstrably 10 times higher, 6 years before, in an easily obtained reference for a /different/ breed.
Regards, David. Harami2000 (talk) 01:06, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
re. revert; even at a casual glance for merinos only yields for AU$20,000 for a half-share which is only the "most expensive ram in theory sold in Victoria so far this year" (double the quoted example). The UK price linked is equiv. to over AU$200,000 in 2002, thus (to reiterate), the sentence extracted is in poor context (and somewhat confusing/misleading) and does not I believe provide any "big picture" that's required in an *all-breeds* overview on a FA article. Cheers. Harami2000 (talk) 01:16, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
Don't just remove an important section entirely if it's wrong, update it. The point is to state the most valuable sheep, so if what is there is wrong, then fix it. Don't just cut a chunk of important info out of the article. I'll be updating per the link you provided and some from the Farmer's Guardian. Steven Walling (talk) 01:19, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
Heya... It's not a particularly "important section" in the context of the WP article, especially if it creates a false impression of "relative value" from the context by being dropped in casually in the middle of a section. I'm not sure there's a particular need to be any "record sale price" in every species overview on WP because that does somewhat border on trivia if added "randomly" rather than explaining in encyclopedic detail /why/ some breeds might be more valuable than others and then quantifying that. Under such circumstances it's easier to excise and discuss for later consideration (as I did). Harami2000 (talk) 01:28, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
aside: re. the Guardian link and that £101,000 Swaledale: that article doesn't mention the £92,400 for a Texel only a few months earlier in 2002, per . That clearly notes "UK record" rather than worldwide and the good ol' Guinness Book of Records website ain't playing ball with that category to try to update to "worldwide, 2008". (Yes, I was checking elsewhere on-line and noting findings here, fwiw). However, those links are, all-told, pointing to a variety of breeds that /can/ have high $ but are generally found amongst the most "popular" commercial breeds (stating the obvious, but "true"). Harami2000 (talk) 01:41, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
Heh... I missed the AU$450,000 in /1988/ Merino price on the article just linked, above; being quoted as "world record". Since that was published in July 2008, it's probably "good to go" with a note re. "bubble" economy, even, if being encyclopedic (+with that Swaledale and Texel not overly far behind). Harami2000 (talk) 01:48, 7 September 2008 (UTC)


Since a ruminant, by definition, is a mammal, then isn't it redundant to say "Domestic sheep (Ovis aries) are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals" ? --Igoldste (talk) 02:20, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

Not at all. Ruminants are a type of mammal, and it's in that sense that the phrase is used. It's not redundant in same way that saying "ungulates are hoofed mammals" isn't. It's important to state the obvious, especially in the lead. Steven Walling (talk) 02:28, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
There is nothing wrong with stating the fact that thay are mammals, but your are wrong, All Ruminants are indeed "Mammals"

E. Theodore Breedlove (Biological Science Technician) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:44, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Actually that was just what Steven did say: "Ruminants are a type of mammal". Richard New Forest (talk) 15:39, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
Not all ruminants are mammals - see hoatzinKerani (talk) 22:32, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
The hoatzin is a fore-gut fermenter, but it does not strictly ruminate (it does not cud, it only has one chamber). In any case we are really using "ruminant" here in its taxonomic sense, which restricts it to artiodactyl ruminants, in the same way as we'd call a panda a carnivore but not a whale. Richard New Forest (talk) 12:47, 22 February 2011 (UTC)Re

What really does not belong the the lead is "quadrupedal" when the ordinary "four-legged" would do, and do much better. Wikipedia should try not to sound like a pompous blowhard, or a struggling undergrad writing his first paper. (talk) 16:09, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

There's nothing pompous about the use of quadrupedal. It's a perfectly ordinary, widely-understood term, and in any case it's linked. We have a Simple Wikipedia for those who need it. Maedin\talk 16:50, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

"The Rare Breeds Survival Trust of the UK lists 25 native breeds as having only 3,000 registered animals"[edit]

In total, or per breed: presumably the latter? Neither figure is immediately obvious from the link provided, anyhow, which lists 22 (native) breeds at "Minority" or below status. (The only obvious alt. source on is both out of date and requires trawling to obtain the actual number of animals, hence easier to ask here first... :) Harami2000 (talk) 02:43, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

It's 3000 per breed - the definition (per the numbers) can be found here. They've recently updated their listing of breeds from 25 to 22, and it needs to be fixed. Steven Walling (talk) 02:49, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. :) Harami2000 (talk) 02:58, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

"Today, the sheep industry in the UK has diminished significantly"[edit]

I can't find anything to say that on the reference provided ( ) beyond future implied worries.
On the contrary, implies a rebound to 2002 within the UK but it's impossible to reconcile that 24.8 million figure with the FAO's 35.8 million for 2004 currently in the article.
At present, anyhow, that sentence reads as though the UK industry has "diminished significantly" since the *1700s* (the only other date in the paragraph) which is almost certainly untrue; being pre-Clearances, for a start. Harami2000 (talk) 02:58, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
Still requiring discussion/resolution on this one, please, per above note. :) Harami2000 (talk) 04:14, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

"Another trait unique to sheep are (sic.) their wide variation in color"[edit]

I was going to copyedit this paragraph for short sentences but since that included extracting the above statement, which I doubt is "unique" to sheep (more so than cattle?), I'd better ask whether there's any evidence to support this first? Harami2000 (talk) 04:18, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

Lol. It's unique to domestic sheep as compared to wild sheep species. Not other livestock, at all. That would be pretty silly to suggest. I'll try and make that clear, someone must have removed the word domestic in there at one point. Steven Walling (talk) 04:30, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
Cheers! My copyedit would've resolved that (those are three /short/ sentences at present) even if it lost that extra emphasis required re. domestics vs wild (as with canines, say). As rewritten, however, I'm still unsure in what manner that's "unique" since you're comparing sheep with sheep, in effect. ;) Domestic sheep simply *have* a wider range of colorations (it's not "unique" as such). Harami2000 (talk) 04:43, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

Never widely kept in intensive, confined operations?[edit]

Currently stated as "Sheep are one of the few livestock animals raised for meat today that have never been widely kept in an intensive, confined animal feeding operation" (this doesn't state indoor or outdoor?).
As that's a paper source, I can't get the precise context, but compare with "THE U.S. LIVE SHEEP INDUSTRY 29 Productivity (lambs produced per 100 ewes) is much higher in the confined, intensive systems of the Midwest and East" (actually OCR'd from page 29 but doesn't load correctly there).
Midwest and East of the US sounds "wide" enough to me, combined with the "In the U.S., four companies produce 81 percent of cows, 73 percent of sheep, 57 percent of pigs and 50 percent of chickens" quote on Confined animal feeding operation as linked here which hints at that, even if not the actual number of farms?
Thanks, David. Harami2000 (talk) 04:34, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
Those numbers are solely for the U.S., which is hardly even close to a world leader in sheep production. Besides, the "intensive" system used in those situations is not the same as CAFOs for chickens and pigs. Those animals live their whole lives in a CAFO, while the few lambs that are intensively mananged (i.e. mostly U.S. ones) are simply finished in a feedlot manner similar to cattle. Breeding flocks that produce lambs for feedlots are not primarily kept in CAFOs. Steven Walling (talk) 23:07, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
The wording used contains "never" (generally not good practice unless absolutely sure) which is further confused by "widely kept" - Midwest and Eastern US is still no small area in farming terms, even if the numbers are not the largest in the world. The phrasing in the source sited is "confined, intensive" as in the article quote: it shouldn't matter than the systems have slight difference in detail and there is no further clarification within the article.
Are you sure there are no other examples worldwide? Ditto, the historical context, since that sentence as currently written is not time-framed.
Anyhow; checking here first, for obvious discussion reasons in this case. "... are rarely kept..." would be better, perhaps? Harami2000 (talk) 23:43, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
I've updated this from "never been widely" to "rarely been" as its been 5+ years without a response on this point. Please note at least for my purposes the edit is a grammatical concern rather than a factual one. The content is identical before and after the edit, however now the statement is less confusing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jaydubya93 (talkcontribs) 20:35, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

Patagonian nations[edit]

You couldn't just say Argentina and Chile? Srenker (talk) 06:02, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

Oops; I spotted that one, but didn't recheck on the facts. :/
Brazil and Uruguay have about as many sheep as Argentina (wildly varying estimates depending on source) and only a minority of those in Argentina are actually in Patagonia - see first source. (sources; , - table 1, , ).
Will change, thanks... Harami2000 (talk) 06:26, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
Adding note re. as a good source for each country's sheep population in order to try to define the area. Even Bolivia has a sizeable number, relatively, so "south and central Southern America" would be about right, perhaps? Harami2000 (talk) 06:32, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
I only thought "Patagonian" sounded hyperbolic, but so much the better if you're checking facts... Srenker (talk) 19:02, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

Featured Article status?[edit]

Personally, I'd be inclined to put this article up for re-review. Any objections?
There have been various factual issues, etc., spotted since front page listing, the prose is woolly in places and would benefit from copyediting to improve cohesion: a few areas probably also require expert review. Following "Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so" procedures can only go so far, IMHO, and reading back through the FA review doesn't give the impression of rigorousness with a total of 5 support votes, only, several of which are glosses at best; with no peer review and rapid promotion via GA to FA.
Yes, I appreciate the amount of work that has gone into this but it neither fulfils the "Professional, outstanding, and thorough; a definitive source for encyclopedic information" nor "No further content additions should be necessary unless new information becomes available" criteria in my book.
Regards, David. Harami2000 (talk) 16:07, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
I don't think it needs a complete review of FA status. You seem to be the only person with any significant suggestions for revision or objection. FAR is for a group collaborative review of the article, and it's not really appropriate if only one person is interested in an in-depth review. In other words, I think it's smarter to try and work out things you think need doing as we have been: through the normal collaborative process. Unless you've got some specific propositions for improving the content, I think it far from merits an FA review. Steven Walling (talk) 23:04, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
Heya, Steven. The point being that an article should be of a given grade *before* that is awarded, rather than tinkering around afterwards in order to try to pull it up to that grade: university degrees are not awarded before the work is done! FA is the most rigorous standard available on WP and the fact that there are still whole sections requiring copyediting and various factual and other issues (some unanswered, some fundamental) requiring resolution in addition to those recently fixed are /very/ strong indicators, IMHO, that a thorough "second look through" is required.
The fact that I'm the "only person" making extensive observations, in addition to actual improvements to the article itself, should be neither here nor there. Some articles simply receive more "attention" than others and its easier "not to get involved", of course. Similarly, you're the only person who's objected thus far but I would expect objectors, if genuinely interested in WP quality, to take an active role in any reworking.
Personally, however, re-review (stepping back and checking again, formally) sounds like a better course of action as I don't think it's "smarter" to compromise on quality or due process merely to retain an article's FA status as a "badge". JM-02c, anyhow. Cheers, David. Harami2000 (talk) 23:32, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
The article was assured to be of a given grade before it was promoted. It didn't magically achieve FA without any review; some of the best FAC reviewers out there gave the article an in depth review before it passed FAC. Copyediting of any kind is not enough of a reason to merit an FAR, not even close. So far, you seem to be the only person who has even once suggested there were fundamental factual or style issues with the article. I don't think it merits FAR at all. Steven Walling (talk) 23:52, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
Phrases such as "It didn't magically achieve FA" (take it on good faith that I know that) and, for example, the hairtrigger reversion without reading the comments on my first edit on the article read more as article "defensiveness" rather than striving to quality standards.
As noted, I have read the FA review for this article: there were five supports and one oppose with several of the supports being more of a gloss. This did not leave the impression that in-depth fact checking had taken place and the result appears to fall short of "Professional, outstanding, and thorough; a definitive source for encyclopedic information" and "No further content additions should be necessary unless new information becomes available". That extensive copyediting appears to be required in several areas would also /appear/ to fall short of "Professional, outstanding", too. If any FAC reviewer might wish to observe/comment, that would be appreciated: I'm certainly not querying whether anyone's "best" or not, in all this. Harami2000 (talk) 00:23, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Once again, I strongly disagree with the assertion that the article needs so much copyediting that it isn't still among the best of Wikipedia. As you know, this is a core topic, one that's really expansive and not easy to write about. If it needs copyediting, then dive in and be bold. I'm really glad someone else has finally taken a very active interest in this article - thank you. But don't expect me to just roll over and accept edits I disagree with. Steven Walling (talk) 02:54, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks again for the feedback. Personally, I don't have any problem accepting edits I disagree with, so long as those are factual, believably sourced, not excessively POV-pushing, etc., and help make WP more "encyclopedic". I'm still unsure why FA status might be regarded as a "safe haven" (I'm probably going to ask around to check whether that's a systematic issue or just giving that "impression" in this case), but I presume you are happy that the article as it currently stands fulfills the FA definition entirely?
Yes, there are edits I'll probably continue to make to correct factual errors, generally improve encyclopedic scope, copyedit, etc., but I'm entirely convinced this is the *wrong* way to go about things: i.e. that it's /bad/ practice to accept "quiet" resolution of /large/ numbers of deficiencies vs. FA and lower grade criteria without reconsidering why so many slipped through the review process in the first instance and considering whether a re-review might be /beneficial/. Cheers, David. Harami2000 (talk) 04:07, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Harami2000. A lot of this article is based on some very dubious hobby sheep articles and not on the sheep and procedures of the very large sheep producing nations. The picture of the flocking sheep that has been included is an insult to anyone's intelligence. These sheep have a fence each side of them, a camera in front and a someone driving them. Where else could they go? The boy and the sheep photo is also of dubious value, too. Cgoodwin (talk) 23:41, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
I have no problem with those photos being removed or replaced. But the assertion that it's based on "hobby sheep articles" is far from true. It's based on half a dozen recently published and reliable books. Hardly "hobby articles." The people at FAC didn't have any problem with the rigor of the sourcing. If you'd like to add more info and sources like you did at Domestic sheep reproduction, be my guest. If you can't produce better reliable sources than what's there now, there's no substance to your argument about needing FAR. Steven Walling (talk) 23:48, 1 November 2008 (UTC)


I noticed from source 9 that the taxonomy was different from what we had. The order is Ungulata, meaning hoofed animals and the sub-order is Artiodactyla.--Blackmage337 (talk) 16:08, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Images above headings[edit]

MOS is very clear about images having to be below headings in their relevant sections, which appears obvious, but was reverted when I fixed it. It is nonsensical and simply doesn't look good. FunkMonk (talk) 22:39, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

It isn't nonsensical at all. I did it very intentionally to place sufficient space between the images in the article, and the "look good" part is clearly just your opinion. I have disputed this part of MOS at the talk page, as it was added from Accessibility without sufficient discussion, in my opinion. The goal is to clearly illustrate the article, and this hard line adherence to what is designed to be flexible guidelines (not policy) is not helping. Steven Walling (talk) 22:42, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
Having an image outside the section it illustrates isn't non-sensical? Where else is that practiced? FunkMonk (talk) 22:43, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
There's a difference between putting the image markup outside a section in edit view and having it appear outside a section it is meant to illustrate. Clearly an image that actually looks like it's outside a section it's meant to illustrate would be nonsensical. But placing the markup just above a header, and having it appear still within the section in view mode, is not bad for readers. It illustrates a subject as intended, and allows for plenty of space between text and other images. Steven Walling (talk) 22:49, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
Well, a problem is that different people have different screens. For example on a small screen, the image of a Faroese stamp at the bottom would barely even "touch" the text in the "cultural impact" section it is supposed to illustrate (you can experiment with this by resizing your browser window). This wouldn't be an issue at all as long as it was placed just below the heading. Screen size is a problem with large images too. They would make an article unreadable, since the images wouldn't adjust to individual screens while having a fixed size. FunkMonk (talk) 22:57, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
When the article was at FAC, I intentionally went on a small screen (I was actually working from a 10 inch screen at the time as well) to check the image placement and tweak it. There's no point in having an image if it's so small you can't properly see what's going on in it. The standard thumb size (which I know I can change, but anon readers can't) is too small to make out a lot of images well. It's frustrating for readers. Steven Walling (talk) 23:03, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
Appears there's already a discussion about this, I'd wait and see what it ends up with. FunkMonk (talk) 01:21, 30 November 2008 (UTC)


i have some sources that ovis aries has no subspecies —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:44, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:WikiProject Mammals#Taxonomy, which recommends the use of the taxonomy given in Mammal Species of the World (MSW). This link gives MSW's Ovis aries page, listing the subspecies – on the whole these are treated as species by the sources you mention. Richard New Forest (talk) 09:17, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Illness section[edit]

It's a minor fault, but the Illness heading should start with a capital, at the moment it's just "illness". The page is protected which is why I've put this here, as I can't do it myself. Also should Predation really be a subsection of Illness? It seams to me that they should be separate, as they have nothing to do with each other. (talk) 23:39, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Done. Richard New Forest (talk) 21:10, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

A call for ISO standardization ... based on....[edit] -- (talk) 04:26, 11 June 2009 (UTC) -- (talk) 04:28, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Sheep image with back marking[edit]

My understanding of the word "raddle" is that it refers to a paint pot that is strapped to the chest of a ram such that when it mounts a ewe, it leaves a paint mark so that the herdsman can tell the ewe may be pregnant. Thus the raddle is the paint pot, rather than the mark. Marks are also used to distinguish sheep, as well, but the raddle has the specific purpose I have outlined.

The word "raddled" gained a meaning of being painted up indicating sexual availability, possibly in the 18th? century. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 21:40, 24 June 2009

"Raddle" really means "ochre" (OED), so the word is equivalent to "paint". In common usage it's certainly used to mean the mark as well as the marker. Richard New Forest (talk) 08:21, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Editsemiprotected request[edit]


In Hinduism

Hindu worshippers consider the Ram as the divine vehicle (Vahana Vahana)of Mangala, the God of MarsMangala. Mangala is one of the Navagrahas Navagrahaconsidered to be influencers in Hindus Astrology. Some people even regard the Ram to be a vehicle of the Fire God, AgniAgni. This does not seem to be correct as various Hindu scriptures regard the Goat to be the correct vehicle of Agni. This is also supported by the fact that in ancient hindu religious functions, goats, rather than sheep, have been the preferred sacrificial offering to Agni.Rajshi (talk) 06:26, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

Not done: Congratulations! That request was your tenth edit. You can now edit semiprotected articles yourself, but I would recommend finding a reliable source to cite for that factual addition before adding it. Cheers, Celestra (talk) 19:29, 13 October 2009 (UTC)


I deleted the sentence at the beginning of the page after the templates "Weebl invented sheep." This appears to be vandalism, and if it is not, please put it back after saying that it is not. UNIT A4B1 (talk) 18:01, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Vandalism. I've applied the appropriate message to the editor's talk page.  Ronhjones  (Talk) 18:36, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Feral sheep section or article[edit]

I was looking through this article for info on feral sheep, but could only find very scattered and limited info. I think it would be nice with a section on feral sheep (like in the Wild boar article), or even an article, since the article really doesn't cover them in themselves, only in relation to other things. Then sheep could maybe become a disambihuation page, at the moment it is kind of odd and misleading that it redirects to domestic sheep, when this is not the only kind. Why not rename the Ovis article as sheep instead? This article has some nice info on primitive sheep that could be referenced, by the way: FunkMonk (talk) 14:51, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

This article is already so long, and has been split before (see the sheep navbox at the bottom), that I think creating a new article would be a good idea. This is especially true, since feral sheep are much less common than any other feral animal, from goats to pigs to horses, so emphasizing it in the main article is not quite as important. I don't think removing the sheep redirect is appropriate at all though, since the overwhelming majority of people searching for sheep mean domestic sheep. That's what the navbox and disambiguation links at the top are for. Steven Walling 20:58, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Where is the notice on this article for comments about a move? Its late and maybe I am not seeing it- could someone provide a dif please. Hardyplants (talk) 07:59, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Its the green bit below. noq (talk) 08:46, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
Ok, thank you for the response noq. I see what happened now, the box was added to protect the discussion that occurred on this page. I guess I did not pay any attention to what was happening on the talk page of this article and missed my change to comment. Oh-well Hardyplants (talk) 08:58, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Moved to Sheep. Consensus is to follow WP:COMMONNAME Born2cycle (talk) 04:41, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

Domestic sheepSheep — Just "Sheep". Therefore, I'm making this request for this article to officially be moved, since the cover art seems official confirmation. (talk) 23:01, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

  • Oppose – No valid reason was provided for the movereq. ɠu¹ɖяy¤ • ¢  04:00, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Support, "sheep" commonly refers to the white woolly animal humans domesticated over 10,000 years ago. Their domesticatedness is a given. Abductive (reasoning) 04:08, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Support per Abductive. It's just like we have the article on domestic cats named Cat, instead of Domestic cat. I think that the article name Cat was contested before (i.e. requested to be moved to domestic cat), but nevertheless Cat remains the article's name. [|Retro00064|☎talk|✍contribs|] 17:23, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Support per Abductive. A Macedonian (talk) 17:37, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Support per Abductive. Use of the term "Domestic", while technically accurate, gives the impression (to me at least) the article is about sheep as pets rather than livestock. -- Mattinbgn (talk) 12:21, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment'. If "sheep" means a domestic sheep, what do we call the members of the genus Ovis as a whole? Richard New Forest (talk) 12:58, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Not sure why that page would need to change. It is already at Ovis, where it belongs. "Sheep" already redirects to "Domestic sheep" with a hatnote to a disambiguation page. You can still call Ovis "sheep" in the article and elsewhere if you wish, it is just that the article for the genus will be at the biological name rather than the common name because the common name is used elsewhere. -- Mattinbgn (talk) 13:49, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Spanish suggestion.[edit]

I would like you to add into the history section whare it talks about wool and and spains monopoly on Merino sheep the fallowing fact, the word for wool in spanish is Lana, and Lana also refers to money in spanish. Wen someone has a large sum it is refered to as "El tiene Mucha Lana!" translated "He has Lots of Money!" Thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:58, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

That's interesting, but I don't think we can include every colloquial use of wool-related terms in every language. Richard New Forest (talk) 19:40, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Rams bumping heads[edit]

why do rams bump heads?' —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:09, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

I think "bump heads" is a bit of an understatement! My rams run full tilt at each other and crash their horns together with a noise like a sledgehammer on a masonry wall – and then do it again a moment later, and often again and again all day. They may occasionally shake their heads, but otherwise they seem to suffer no discomfort from many heavy impacts, just one of which would smash a human's skull to pulp.
They are fighting for dominance. Usually one ram will eventually admit defeat, and the other will become dominant, although if very evenly matched they may continue for several days. In a natural situation a dominant ram will get mating rights with more ewes.
Fighting between rams is one of the reasons most male lambs are castrated. It is possible to get rams to accept each other – the traditional method is to shut them in a small pen where there is no room to fight. They will eventually give up trying and can then be turned out into a field safely. Richard New Forest (talk) 19:01, 8 December 2010 (UTC)


In North America section, HMS Susan Conant should be HMS Susan Constant ? Scratchmarc (talk) 02:45, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Amendment done, though it seems the ship belonged to the English Virginia Company, not the Royal Navy, so would not have been an HMS Richard New Forest (talk) 15:45, 23 February 2011 (UTC)



It is unbelievable that this article contains the word "pastoral" once, when for millennias sheeps have been bred, and are still largely bred, that way.

There are two main classes of sheep breeding: unfenced-pastoral, or fenced-in paddocks ( or partly fenced-partly pastoral) , according to the comparated cost of construction and maintenance of fences, against yhe cost of human work ...

BEHAVIOUR The long story of pastoral breeding is probably responsible of the behaviour of this animal, as during millenias shepherds were selecting the animals -on the behaviour- more for their flocking attitude, than for their intelligence. The intelligent sheep, looking permanently an escape way and leading other out of the flock, is undesirable for this activity. It is easy to understand that their elimination has been an important factor of the evolution of this domestic animal.

This article is not too long, as the subject is wide. Thanks to contributors. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:20, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Please find a consensus[edit]

In March, I split one big section of this article to History of sheep. Now, however, it was merged back in. We need a consensus. Georgia guy (talk) 13:06, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

I think you were right to do so. At the moment at over 107k it is a very long article the size guide recommends that articles over 100k should "almost certainly" be divided. And the only easy to do so is by splitting out the history section, itself the only section that really suggests a separate article.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 15:16, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
I disagree. The article was assessed as Featured with a history section, and without a basic history of the animal the coverage is not comprehensive and thus no longer meets the FA requirements. There have already been several forks out of this article. If you would like to discuss drastically reducing the history sections, that's okay with me in order to preserve being an overview. But the article without any info about where sheep come from in an evolutionary sense and when they were domesticated is woefully incomplete. I will not stand for that. Steven Walling • talk 20:35, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Well then, please just add a little bit of important info and link History of sheep as the main article. Georgia guy (talk) 20:37, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
When given it's FA star it was 97k, so below 100k but still long enough that it should have been divided if it makes sense. And it is now even longer. So I would still say breaking out the history section is the most natural way to do this, as described at summary style. I can't see any other way to achieve a size reduction.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 21:23, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Georgia guy: I think that's a good compromise. To be honest I don't care about having all the European, American, or African history detail completely in there, but stuff from the initial section is quite important in my mind. I'll do as you suggested. Steven Walling • talk 21:39, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

I didn't see this discussion before adding the section below. I concur--it's very important to have a History section that links to the History of sheep article. Nareek (talk) 00:28, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Then just add a little bit of info in such a section and link History of Sheep. Georgia guy (talk) 00:30, 25 September 2011 (UTC)


Seems like this article sorely needs a section on when and where sheep were domesticated, and their wild ancestors. Nareek (talk) 00:21, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Oh, I see--that stuff is in History of sheep. Seems like there should be a summary of that stuff here with a link to the main article. Nareek (talk) 00:26, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Distinguishing sheep horns from goat horns[edit]

Can sheep horns be distinguished from goat horns? If have some sheep horns mounted to a wall rack, how would I tell them apart from those of goats? Is there a way to do this? Are the horns of males identical to the horns of females?

The main page of this article should have a paragraph on the unique differences between sheep horns and goat horns. (talk) 05:59, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

The article notes that domestic sheep have no horns, or have horns, or have multiple sets or only horns on males. Human intervention does that - wild sheep are another story. The article could perhaps find room for an image of a horned sheep. I would suggest the Jacob sheep breed (which can have two, four or six horns, just in one breed). Rmhermen (talk) 06:11, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
I see History of sheep shows horned sheep images. Rmhermen (talk) 06:12, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
Generally, ram horns (when they have them, and when they are large enough) are curled into a fairly tight spiral out to each side, often making a whole turn, or in some breeds sometimes well over one turn (for example see here). Goat horns tend to go up and back in a much more gentle curve, with little twist to the side, like this nanny.
There are exceptions though. The inner horns of four-horned sheep are often straight (see here). Horns of ewes (when they have them) are much less coiled, and can look like small goat horns, or they may even just be a short spike. I have one ewe whose horns are like curved, sharp-edged bread-knives pointing backwards – they cause some concern for the tenderer parts when sitting her up against my legs to shear her!
Some goats have horns that are straightish, but twist strongly on their long axis. Those of the Markhor (a wild species) do this, and those of various domestic breeds, notably the Girgentana – interestingly the horns of these two twist opposite ways [11:15, 7 December 2011 (UTC): correction after checking photo again] the latter may twist either way.
As to whether male horns can be told from female ones... If you know the breed, probably yes. If not, perhaps, or perhaps not. Female horns are much smaller and straighter – however the female horns of heavily horned breeds (such as the Portland or Wiltshire Horn) are not far short of ram horns from some lightly-horned breeds. This is however complicated by wethers (castrated males) whose horns are intermediate between those of ewes and rams. If castrated very early, wethers may hardly grow any horns – see for example these two of mine, castrated at about one day old (the middle sheep is their polled sister). These wethers are only six months old in that photo, but over a year later their horns are hardly bigger. On the other hand, if castrated later (at say two or three months) the male hormones have have had much more time to work, and the horns can then be almost as large as a ram's, though generally less tightly coiled. Richard New Forest (talk) 21:27, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
At least one sheep breed has straight, twisted horns like a markhor: see Racka. Richard New Forest (talk) 11:15, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

Edit request on 12 February 2012[edit] (talk) 03:30, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

Hi. You don't appear to have given any details of the edit you think should be made. Please provide some details so that the request can be considered.
When you have done so, please change the tag on this section back to {{edit semi-protected|answered=no}} to reactivate the request. Thanks. Begoontalk 03:38, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

Edit request (2) on 12 February 2012[edit]

Hi, I'm Chephren Pryor I'm 12 Years Old, and i need the picture with the picture of a sheep infected with orf removed, because it was creeping me out, And I couldn't get it out of my mind. (talk) 03:41, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

Hi. I left some information on your talk page. Wikipedia is not censored, see WP:NOTCENSORED, which says: "some articles may include text, images, or links which some people may find objectionable, when these materials are relevant to the content. Discussion of potentially objectionable content should not focus on its offensiveness but on whether it is appropriate to include in a given article. Beyond that, "being objectionable" is generally not sufficient grounds for removal or inclusion of content.".
That means that if the only reason for removing the picture is that some may find it objectionable, that will not be done, if the picture is appropriate to the context of the article. On this occasion, I think it is appropriate. I'm an animal lover, too, but in an encyclopedia article discussing the animal, and its diseases, an illustration is warranted.
You may be interested to know that In June 2011, the Wikimedia Foundations' Board of Trustees instructed the WMF staff to "develop and implement a personal image hiding feature that will enable readers to easily hide images hosted on the projects that they do not wish to view". How to implement this feature was the subject of a referendum. It is presently under development.
I hope some of that helps - please feel free to ask further if you still have questions. Begoontalk 03:58, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Please note that has been indefinitely banned for vandalism. The user continued to remove the content mentioned here without responding to the help and guidance provided by Begoon and others. Just thought I would clarify in case there are future issues. Jaydubya93 (talk) 20:46, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

Sheep's vocal communication[edit]

There is little or no information about a sheep's bleat/baa, and the various types of a sheep's vocal sounds and their meanings. Also, the words 'Baa' and 'Bleat' currently redirect to 'Onomatopaeia', shouldn't they redirect to Sheep? Pag2006 (talk) 07:27, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Another editor has added some very good information on sheep vocalisations and I have changed the links to 'Baa' and 'Bleat' to Sheep#vocalisations. DrChrissy (talk) 18:20, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Suggestion for addition to article[edit]

In the article on cattle and goats, there is mention of the domestication during the neolithic period. Perhaps the article can be improved by addition to cited information on that, as well as how long sheep have been domesticated by humans. Don't know what references to look for, perhaps someone knowledgeable on the subject can help?Wzrd1 (talk) 16:56, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

I think they spun of too much material when they created the History of sheep article, leaving this one without even a pointer to that article (when it should include a brief summary). Rmhermen (talk) 01:41, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Energy Absorption[edit]

The article incorrectly states that "The abomasum is the only one of the four chambers analogous to the human stomach (being the only one that absorbs nutrients for use as energy)..." In fact, most of the sheep's useful energy absorption occurs across the rumen wall, in the form of volatile fatty acids. See, for example, Van Soest's "Nutritional Ecology of the Ruminant", Church's "The Ruminant Animal: Digestive Physiology and Nutrition", "Dukes' Physiology of Domestic Animals", and/or other authoritative texts. There is a considerable body of research evidence on this. A couple of examples are the paper by Bergman et al. (1965. Biochem. J. 97: 53-58) and the classic paper by Barcroft et al. (1944. J. exp. Biol. 20: 120-129). Bergman et al. found that volatile fatty acids accounted for about 82 percent of the sheep's energy expenditure, and Barcroft et al. had found that, because of absorption across the [reticulo]rumen wall, and to a lesser extent, across the wall of the omasum, material entering the sheep's abomasum is virtually free of volatile fatty acids. Schafhirt (talk) 00:17, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 6 March 2013[edit]

Hi, I would like to add the following to 'External links'. Thanks!

Gspudich (talk) 13:57, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Normally I am very hesitant to add new external links to an article but I think this is better than some of the ELs already on the article. If no one objects within 24 hours of your request I will go ahead and add it. —KuyaBriBriTalk 14:58, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Done Appears non-controversial, added.  — daranzt ] 22:01, 8 March 2013 (UTC)

Sheep compared to goats[edit]

A sentence from this paragraph is "Visual differences between sheep and goats include the beard and divided upper lip of goats." While it is true that the beard is a characteristic of goats, the divided upper lip is not. It is a characteristic of sheep. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:54, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

I believe that the sentence should read 'Visual differences between sheep and goats include the beard of goats and divided upper lip of sheep.' How can we get this changed? JohnSHicks (talk) 22:10, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

Done!__DrChrissy (talk) 08:55, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

Article is a wall of text[edit]

Most of the article, especially the "Diet" section is a wall of text, too long. I feel some information should be split up and moved into sub-categories. --MrRatermat2 (talk) 17:57, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

Hi. It seems that similar issues were addressed further above on this talk page. See, for example, the division of "History of Sheep" into a separate article. Given that this page was a FA, I'm also inclined to think that overall the content actually is fairly well put together. However, I sympathize about the length of the Diet section, I fear that attempts to spin "The diet of sheep" into its own article would likely be immediately shot down given how deletionist folks tend to be. What do you think about trimming some of the content from that section instead to make it more palatable? Jaydubya93 (talk) 20:55, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
The diet section is only six paragraphs (some of which are quite short). This is hardly a long section. Rmhermen (talk) 22:55, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
With the comments above in mind, I have broken up the Diet section with sub-headings and moving paragraphs. I hope this works, if not, please edit/revert.__DrChrissy (talk) 18:23, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

Visual field size[edit]

Under it says sheep have "visual fields of approximately 270° to 320°", but under it says "Sheep have panoramic vision of 330° to 360°". Anybody know which is correct? (talk) 02:07, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

I believe that the 270 degree to 320 degree figure is the correct one. This is the same field of vision that goats have. JohnSHicks (talk) 12:30, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

From [2]

Sheep have generally very good vision. The position of the eye allows for wide peripheral vision – with each eye they can span some 145° with each eye. Binocular vision is much narrower – 40° wide. They have no vision 2-3cm immediately in front of the nose. After locating a threat in their peripheral vision, they turn to examine it with binocular vision. They have a blind spot at rear around 70° which is wider than the cow and useful when catching sheep.

__DrChrissy (talk) 08:48, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

Do Lambs have horns[edit]

Or is Revelation 5 and 13 describing Horns of or like a Lamb's symbolically technically zoologically incorrect? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:56, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

Reference number 25: "Wooster"[edit]

What is that reference? It's used several times, but is not complete. I tried to search through the history a bit to see if it was a joke, but it's too difficult (or I couldn't figure out how to do it). (talk) 10:19, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

For some reason, this article has 2 References sections. The full reference is given in the second of these sections.Wooster, Chuck (2005). Living with Sheep: Everything You Need to Know to Raise Your Own Flock. Geoff Hansen (Photography). Guilford, Connecticut: The Lyons Press. ISBN 1-59228-531-7. __DrChrissy (talk) 15:01, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

File:Flock of sheep.jpg to appear as POTD[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Flock of sheep.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on July 5, 2015. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2015-07-05. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page. Thanks! — Chris Woodrich (talk) 00:31, 14 June 2015 (UTC)

Picture of the day

Sheep are quadrupedal ruminants, typically kept as livestock. Although the name "sheep" applies to many species in the genus Ovis, in everyday usage it generally refers to Ovis aries. One of the first animals to be domesticated, sheep are likely descended from the wild mouflon of Europe and Asia. They are raised for their fleece, meat, and milk.

Photograph: Keith Weller/Agricultural Research Service
ArchiveMore featured pictures...

Error under diet section[edit]

Under the diet section it says, "When sheep graze, vegetation is chewed into a mass called a bolus, which is then passed into the rumen, via the reticulum. "

The reticulum is after the rumen in the digestive tract. Would someone who can edit this page remove the "via the reticulum" part please?

The reticulum is not after the rumen. Rmhermen (talk) 23:59, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
This figure[3] indicates the bolus can not get to the reticulum without having been in the rumen first. However, Ruminant states "Even though the rumen and reticulum have different names, they represent the same functional space as digesta can move back and forth between them." which is what I remember being taught.DrChrissy (talk) 11:00, 18 September 2015 (UTC)
That figure is misleading as the page itself latter says the esophagus "Opens into reticulum and rumen". This source more clearly says "The reticulum is a blind pouch of the rumen that acts as a holding area for feed after it passes down the esophagus. ... there is no distinct division between the rumen and the reticulum, ..." Rmhermen (talk) 17:39, 19 September 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Edit request: Depth perception[edit]

Fifth sentence in the fourth paragraph under heading "Description and evolution" states, "[s]heep have poor depth perception...". Subsection titled "Senses" under heading "Behaviour" states, "[g]ood depth perception...was confirmed in "visual cliff" experiments...". Please clarify.Wordecho (talk) 21:59, 1 August 2016 (UTC)

Sheep genome fully sequenced?[edit]

In section "Science", we can read "As of 2008, the sheep genome has not been fully sequenced". I think it was fully squenced in 2014 (Press release and Science publication cited in International Sheep Genomics Consortium). --Furado (talk) 12:10, 19 August 2016 (UTC)

Lede Photograph[edit]

Somebody ought to nominate that lede pic for inclusion in the WikiCommons because that is truly a great shot.

GreaseballNYC (talk) 10:42, 19 December 2016 (UTC)