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Why Does a Shepherd Separate Sheep from Goats (2024) | Separate |  Separating

Separating Sheep and Goats

As a General Rule Goats need more copper in their diets. Breeds also vary in their sensitivity to copper toxicity. For this reason, it is generally recommended that sheep not be fed grain and mineral mixes that have been formulated for other livestock (including goats), as these feeds likely have copper added to them. This can be toxic to sheep.

Why Does a Shepherd Separate Sheep from Goats

A shepherd separates sheep from goats for many reasons. Goats are browsers and will eat just about anything, including poisonous plants. Sheep, on the other hand, are grazers and will only eat grass. This difference in diet means that sheep and goats can’t share the same pasture without coming into conflict. Goats are also more likely to escape from a enclosure, so they need to be kept separate from the sheep. Finally, goats are generally more aggressive than sheep and will sometimes attack and kill their smaller counterparts. For all these reasons, a shepherd needs to keep sheep and goats separated.

.Do Sheep and Goats Need to be Separated? Sheep and goats are both small livestock animals raised for their wool, hair, or pelts as well as milk and meat. Sheep and goats were the first animals that humans domesticated, and they continue to be among the most popular livestock animals. If you look closely at sheep and goats, you’ll notice their physical differences and be able to distinguish between the two. Why Does a Shepherd Separate Sheep from Goats?

See Amazons Resources on the Science of Raising Goats

A big difference between sheep and goats is their foraging behavior and diet selection. Goats are natural browsers, preferring to eat leaves, twigs, vines, and shrubs. They are very agile and will stand on their hind legs to reach vegetation. Goats like to eat the tops of plants. Sheep are grazers, preferring to eat short, tender grasses, and clover. Why Do Farmers Need Separate Sheep From Goats

Their dietary preference is forbs (broadleaf weeds) and they like to graze close to the soil surface. Goats require and select a more nutritious diet. Sheep also have behavioral characteristics that set them apart from goats.

Differences Between Sheep and Goats

Do Sheep and Goats Need to be Separated / Appearance / Separating

Sheep have a thicker, fuller coat that needs to be sheared and is the source of wool. Goats can also be sheered to produce mohair and cashmere. Most goats have horns, but sheep do not. Sheep and goats have different mouths, sheep have an upper lip with a division in it called a philtrum, but goats don’t.

Goats have tails that point upwards and sheep have tails that hang down. Sheep tails are often shortened (cropped or docked). Sheep and goats have numerous physical differences. Most goats have hair coats that do not require shearing or combing. Most sheep grow woolly coats that need to be sheared at least annually.

Other important Tags

  • shepherds grazed them in mixed flocks
  •  included both sheep and goats
  • sheep graze low only
Why Does a Shepherd Separate Sheep from Goats (2024) | Separate |  Separating 1
why farmers separate sheep from goats

Lamb tails are usually docked (shortened) whereas goat tails are not. Sheep have an upper lip that is divided by a distinct philtrum (groove). The goat does not. Male goats have glands beneath their tail.

Sheep have faced or tear glands beneath their eyes and foot or scent glands between the toes. Male goats develop a distinct odor as they grow in sexual maturity. The odor is very strong during the rut (mating season). Sexually mature rams have much less of an odor.


Sheep and goats usually exhibit different behavior. Goats are naturally curious and independent, while sheep tend to be more distant and aloof. Sheep have a stronger flocking instinct and become very agitated if they are separated from the rest of the flock.

Why Does a Shepherd Separate Sheep from Goats (2024) | Separate |  Separating 2
what’s the difference between a sheep and a goat

It is easier to keep sheep inside a fence than goats. Sheep are easier to handle than goats. Goats will seek shelter more readily than sheep. Neither species likes to get its feet wet and both prefer upland grazing to lowland. In a fight, a ram will back up and charge to butt heads. A goat will rear up on his hind legs and come downforce ably to butt heads.

During the confrontation, such fighting behavior favors the ram. Sheep are most comfortable with their flock, and they tend to run if approached or spooked. Goats are more independent, intelligent, and tolerant of interaction in general. Sheep like to graze on grass, while goats prefer to graze on anything they can, including leaves, twigs, and anything edible they can reach.

Suggestions for Aggressive Goat Bucks


Sheep and goats are separate species and cannot interbreed to produce fertile offspring.

However, scientists can produce genetic chimeras (combinations) of sheep and goats in laboratories. Sheep have 54 chromosomes, and goats have 60 chromosomes.

Differences of Goats and Sheep


Most goats are naturally horned. Some goats have beards. Many breeds of sheep are naturally hornless (polled). Some sheep have manes. Goat horns are narrower, upright, and less curved than sheep horns. Sheep tend to curl their horns in loops on the sides of their heads.

Sheep and Goat Production


There are a few differences in the reproductive systems of sheep and goats. The estrus (heat) cycle of the ewe averages 17 days while the doe’s estrus cycle averages 21 days. Goats are much easier to artificially inseminate (AI) than sheep. There are several reasons why.

Ewes have a more complicated cervix which makes the passage of an insemination rod very difficult. When artificially breeding ewes, frozen semen is usually delivered laparoscopically into the uterine horns. Sheep show few visible signs of estrus as compared to goats.

See Our Guide – 8 Ways to Make Money from Goat Farming

A teaser ram is required to detect estrus or timed inseminations are done after hormonal manipulation.
Though it varies by breed, goats tend to be less seasonal and more prolific than sheep. Male goats have an offensive odor during the mating season; rams do not. The mating rituals of the two species vary, with goats being more demonstrative in their behavior.

See Our Extensive Guide – 16 Ways to Make Money Sheep Farming


Sheep and goats have similar nutrient requirements, though goats have higher maintenance requirements because they are not able to digest the cellulose of plant cell walls as well as sheep.

Lambs tend to grow much faster than kids, no matter what the diet is. Sheep convert feeds more efficiently. Grain-feeding is less likely to be profitable in goat (meat) production.
With the exception of a few breeds, sheep and goats fatten very differently. Goats deposit fat around their internal organs before depositing external fat over their back, ribs, and loin.

Why Does a Shepherd Separate Sheep from Goats (2024) | Separate |  Separating 3
do goats and sheep get along

Sheep deposit external fat before depositing internal fat. Finn sheep and hair sheep of tropical origins deposit fat around their organs similarly to goats. Both species require copper in their diet, but with sheep, there is a narrow margin between requirements and toxic levels, though toxic levels depend upon the level of other minerals in their diets.

Breeds also vary in their sensitivity to copper toxicity. For this reason, it is generally recommended that sheep not be fed grain and mineral mixes that have been formulated for other livestock (including goats), as these feeds likely have copper added to them.

It can also be risky to graze sheep on pastures that have been fertilized with poultry or hog manure. Caution should be exercised when using any form of copper as a deworming agent. Additional copper should not be added to the diet of sheep unless a deficiency is confirmed by laboratory tests.

Goats require more copper in their diets than sheep and are not as sensitive to copper toxicity. Their maximum level of copper is considered to be similar to cattle. When co-mingled, sheep products should be fed. It may be necessary to give copper supplements to goats that are co-raised with sheep.

Copper Toxicity


Sheep and goats are generally susceptible to the same diseases, including scrapie, which is transmitted via the infected placenta to genetically susceptible offspring Both sheep and goats can serve as an abnormal host for the meningeal worm, a parasite of whitetail deer.

Goats tend to be more susceptible to worms than sheep, due to their origins (in a dry climate) and natural browsing behavior. They are slower to develop immunity (to parasites). Goats also metabolize dewormers more quickly and require higher doses of the drugs.

The clostridial vaccines seem to be less effective in goats than sheep. Tissue reactions (to vaccinations) tend to be more common in goats than sheep. Fewer drugs are FDA-approved for use in goats.
OPP (ovine progressive pneumonia) and CAE (caprine arthritic encephalitis), are similar diseases, caused by a slow virus (like HIV), that affect sheep and goats, respectively. CAE is transmitted mostly via colostrum, whereas OPP is mostly the result of the lateral transfer (animal to animal, usually mature females to replacement ewe lambs). Cross infection is possible

Why Does a Shepherd Separate Sheep from Goats (2024) | Separate |  Separating 4
can sheep and goats live together

Social dominance

Due to their more aggressive behavior, goats will usually dominate sheep, especially if the goats have horns and the sheep are polled (hornless).

However, when young bucks and rams are maintained together, rams will dominate because the ram will preemptively strike the buck in the abdomen while the buck is still in the act of rearing up.

10 Different Characteristics of Sheep and Goats

Fur; Sheep typically have fluffy wool that requires shearing while goats have flatter hair as their coat and do not usually need to be sheared. (The Caribbean hair sheep is somewhat of an exception.)

Beards; Both male and female goats often have a beard, unlike sheep.

Tails; Sheep tails point downward while goat tails point skyward.

Horns; Most domestic sheep lack horns; they are called polled sheep. If you’re looking at horned life

Eating Habits; Sheep are low-foraging grazers whereas goats are browsers, picking off leaves and other brush from higher levels.

Flock Behavior; Goats are often more independent than sheep, who tend to travel in flocks.

Male Aggression; Aggressive male sheep (rams) attack head-on while angry male goats (bucks) rear on their back legs and then come crashing down with their heads.

Sheltering Behavior; Goats are known to go to shelters more readily than curious sheep, which is also why goats are easier to keep fenced in than sheep.

Mature Male Odor; When male goats reach sexual maturity, they emit a noticeable smell, much stronger than male sheep.

Upper Lip; The upper lip on a sheep is grooved, but a goat is not.

What Special Considerations does a small Farm in Breeding Season when having both Sheep and Goats?

Seperating Sheep and Goats

Early spring is breeding season for both sheep and goats, and there are a few special considerations that need to be taken into account when managing a small farm with both species. One is that sheep and goats have different gestation periods, with sheep carrying their lambs for five months and goats carrying their kids for 150 days. This means that lambs will be born in early spring, while kids will not be born until late spring or early summer. As a result, it is important to have separate pasture areas for each species so that the lambs can get the nutrition they need without competing with the kids for food. In addition, goats are much more resistant to parasites than sheep, so care must be taken to prevent cross-contamination between the two herds. With a little extra planning and effort, however, breeding season on a small farm can be a successful and productive time of year.

What Different Needs Do Small Ruminants Have in Transmission of Diseases?

Why Does a Shepherd Separate Sheep from Goats (2024) | Separate |  Separating 5

Small ruminants are particularly vulnerable to disease because of their small size and the fact that they graze close to the ground, where they can come into contact with contaminated soil or water. In addition, small ruminants are often kept in close proximity to other animals, which makes it easy for diseases to spread. To help prevent the spread of disease, Parasite Control, Internal Parasites, and small ruminants need to be vaccinated against common diseases such as rabies and anthrax. They also need to be regularly checked for parasites, and their housing should be kept clean and free of manure. In addition, small ruminants should be given access to fresh water and hay on a daily basis. By meeting these basic needs, small ruminants will be better able to resist disease.

Final Thoughts

Sheep and Goats should be separated for some important reasons, Goats are more aggressive and can hurt the sheep. Copper toxicity is different and should be monitored and a special formulated Feed should be given.

Diseases are close to both species, but goats are more susceptible to worms.

Sheep Farming for Wool Profitability Table

SheepLambs / 3 Per YrSpace Required 20 Sq Feet - EachGrazing Acres .3 / SheepFeed Required / Yr $10015 Lbs Wool / YearAverage Price $ 10 / LB WoolTotal Revenue Possible
1360 sq ft.9 acres$ 30045 lbs$ 450$ 150
26120 sq ft1.80 acres$ 60090 lbs$ 900$ 300
515300 sq ft4.5 acres$ 1,500225 lbs$ 2,250$ 750
1030600 sq ft9 acres$ 3,000450 lbs$ 4,500$ 1,500
20601200 sq ft18 acres$ 6,000900 lbs$ 9,000$ 3,000
30902,700 sq ft27 acres$ 9,0001,350 lbs$ 13,500$ 4,500
401204800 sq ft36 acres$ 12,0001,800 lbs$ 18,000$ 6,000
501503,000 sq ft45 acres$ 15,0002,250 lbs$ 22,500$ 7,500
1003006,000 sq ft90 acres$ 30,0004,500 lbs$ 45,000$ 15,000
20060012,000 sq ft180 acres$ 60,0009,000 lbs$ 90,000$ 30,000
Sheep can give Birth 6+ lambs every Two Years
Sheep can Produce 2 - 30 lbs of wool per year depending on Breed
Raw washed Wool Runs $ 6 - $ 14 using average $ 10
Feed 5 Months Buying Hay $ 100 rest Grazing
Please Check my Numbers

Sheep Farming for Milk Profitability Table

SheepLambs / 3 Per YrSpace Required 20 Sq Feet - EachGrazing Acres .3 / SheepFeed Required / Yr $100Wool $ 15 lb / YearAverage Price $ 10 / LB Wool90 Gallon/ Yr each ewePrice $ 30 per GallonTotal Wool Revenue PossibleTotal Revenue Milk and Wool
1360 sq ft.9 acres$ 30045 lbs$ 4502708100$ 1508,250
26120 sq ft1.80 acres$ 60090 lbs$ 90054016,200$ 30016,500
515300 sq ft4.5 acres$ 1,500225 lbs$ 2,250135040,500$ 75041,250
1030600 sq ft9 acres$ 3,000450 lbs$ 4,500270081,000$ 1,50082,500
20601200 sq ft18 acres$ 6,000900 lbs$ 9,0005400162,000$ 3,000165,000
30902,700 sq ft27 acres$ 9,0001,350 lbs$ 13,5008100243,000$ 4,500247,500
401204800 sq ft36 acres$ 12,0001,800 lbs$ 18,00010,800324,000$ 6,000330,000
501503,000 sq ft45 acres$ 15,0002,250 lbs$ 22,50013,500405,000$ 7,500412,500
1003006,000 sq ft90 acres$ 30,0004,500 lbs$ 45,00027,000810,000$ 15,000825,000
20060012,000 sq ft180 acres$ 60,0009,000 lbs$ 90,00054,0001,620,000$ 30,0001,650,000
Sheep can give Birth 6+ lambs every Two Years
Sheep can Produce 1/2 Gallon Milk per day / 180 Day Lactation
Raw Sheep Milk $9 - $25 per Quart - Used $ 30 per Gallon for Table
Feed 5 Months Buying Hay $ 100 rest Grazing
Please Check my Numbers

18 Breeds of Hair Sheep FAQ Table

Hair Breeds of SheepCountry OriginPurpose of BreedUseEwe Weight
KatahdinsCaribbean / Maine / AfricaTo Graze Power lines / instead of ChemicalsMeat120 - 160 lbs
DorperSouth AfricaThrive in Africa / Hot ClimateMeat / Fast Growing230 LBs
BlackbellyAmericaHot ClimatesMeat150 LBs
St. CroixCarribeanCame on Ships for Meat for sailorsMeat150 lbs
RomanovsRussiaPrimarily for MeatMeat
Wool - Double Coated
110 lbs
Blackhead PersianAfrica / SomailaBred for High Quanity of FatMeat120 lbs
West African DwarfSouth / Central AfricaMeat55 lbs
Red MaasiEast AfricaBred for Hardiness and parasite ResistanceMeat77 Lbs
Wiltshire HornEngland Do not suffer from FlystrikeMeat149 lbs
Royal WhiteUnited States / TexasBred for Tender Meat and Disease ResistantsMeat175 lbs
California RedNot completely Hair sheep/ Combination of both/ Prod 2 lambs YrMeat140 lbs
DamaraEgyptVigorous with fast growing / in extreme conditionsMeat110 lbs
PelibueyCuba / MexicoTropical SheepMeat75 lbs
AfricanaColumbia / VenezulaMeat110 lbs
MoradaBrazilSurvive ScrubMeat66 lbs
Brazillian SomailaSouth Africa / SomaliMeat
UdaAfricaLong Legged SheepMeat88 lbs
TouabireAfrica Dairy / Meat77 lbs
Breeds - Origin - Purpose - Weight

Minature Breeds of Sheep

BreedHeightWeight / Full GrownFood Per DayLifespanWool / Hair SheepCost
Quessant Sheep!8"28 - 30 Lbs1/2 - 1lb 10 - 12 YrsWool$ 350 - 450
Baby Doll Southdown18"75 lbs2 - 3 Lbs10 - 12 YrsWool$ 350 -450
Southdown Sheep18" - 24"130 lbs6 - 6 lbs10 - 12 YrsWool$ 180 - $ 600
Cheviot Sheep 20"130 Lbs6 - 6 lbs10 - 12 YrsWool$ 180 - $ 600
Border Cheviot20"130 lbs6 - 6 lbs10 - 12 YrsWool$ 180 - $ 600
Shetland Sheep24"75 - 100 lbs6 - 6 lbs10 - 12 YrsWool$ 50 - $100
Navajo - Churro20"110 lbs6 - 6 lbs10 - 12 YrsWool$ 200
Breed of Sheep and Physical Charistics
Amount of Food they Need
Wool - They Need to be Sheared Hair Sheep - Do not Grow Woll but shed Hair once a year
Pricing Depend whether you just want Sheep Or you want to Breed

Sheep Associations 10 Breeds of Sheep

Breeds of SheepCountry OriginPurpose of BreedUseEwe WeightAssociation For Info
Suffolk SheepBritian / SuffolkFast GrowingMeat250 - 350 LbsUnited Suffolk Sheep Association
Merino SheepSpainSoftest WoolWool100 - 200 LbsAmerican and Delane Merino Sheep Association
HampshireBritainBest Tasting MuttonWool / Meat200 LbsAmerican Hampshire Sheep Association
RomneyEngland / Romney MarshDisease ResistanceWool / Meat225 - 275 LbsAmerican Romney Breeders Association
Lincoln SheepEnglandProduce Longest Fleece In WorldWool250 - 350 LbsNational Lincoln Sheep Breeders Association
Dorper SheepSouth AfricanFast Growing MeatMeat230 LbsAmerican Droper Sheep association
Turcana SheepRomainiaAdapted Alpine PastureWool / Milk / Meat175 - 200 Lbs?
Rambouilette SheepFranceStrong / Hearty / All ClimatesWool / Meat300 LbsAmerican Rambouilette Sheep Breeders Association
Leicester LongwoolUnited KingdomFast growing / Good FleeceWool200 LbsLeicester Longwool Sheep Breeders Association
Breeds - Origin - Purpose - Weight

Goat Breeds

Goat BreedsMeatDairyWool
KikoNigerian DwarfPygora
Tennessee Meat Goat

Goat Breeder Associations

Goat AssociationLocationLink
American Goat Breeders AssociationUnited StatesAGF
English Goat Breeders AssociationUKEGBA
Canadian Meat Goat AssociationCanadaCMG
Minature Goat Breeders AssociationAustraliaMGBA
Boer GoatsSouth AfricaBGSA
American Boer Goat AssociationUnited StatesABGA
World Goat Breeders AssociationsListWGBA