Difference Between Lamb and Sheep

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A lamb is a young sheep or baby sheep and is considered so for up to 12 months. After one year, the lamb turns into a sheep. A sheep is the same species as a lamb but is older than 12 months.

There are other factors through which we can distinguish between the two animals. Let’s learn the differences between lambs and sheep.

Sheep vs Lamb: A Quick Comparison Table

Sheep vs Lamb
Ruminant mammal above the age of one.  Definition Young sheep less than a year old 
Male is called ram and female is called a ewe Other names Male is called ram and female is called a ewe
Very reddish  Meat color Pink to light red
Most sheep species are hornless, but some might have horns. Some also have manes. Horns Does not have horns. Ram lambs may have tiny black bumps but not appropriate horns.
66 – 220 lbs. Weight 17.5 – 24.5 lbs.
Sheep graze eaters. They prefer tender leaves, grass, etc.  Diet Lambs eat creep, feed, and suckle. Infants drink milk from their mothers. 
Full set of 32 teeth Teeth Lambs have fewer teeth because they are still infants
Very smelly and may attract lice and ringworms. Body odor Not very smelly
Tougher texture; their leather is used for clothing and furniture Skin Texture is softer; their leather is used for making different apparel
Fleece is more voluminous, so it requires regular shearing Fleece shearing Does not require regular shearing 
Love to stay with the flock and may get agitated when separated  Behavior Friendly and love to stay with the flock

Both sheep and lamb are adorable and easy to domesticate. Livestock is a great earning source for people, and they are not high-maintenance animals. Although their origin is similar, lamb and sheep require different diets, care, and nutrition as they grow old.

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Lambs are younger than 12 months.

Differences Between Lamb and Sheep


The first main difference is the size. Lambs are younger, so their size is smaller than older sheep. Sheep can grow quite tall, up to four feet. Argali (Ovis ammon), a wild sheep species native to Mongolia, is the largest.

Skin & Coat

Another noticeable difference between lamb and sheep is the skin and coat. The age differences accounts for the differences in the skin and coat. Lamb skin is much softer than sheep skin. The young lamb has a very light fur coat, so their wool is smoother and thinner than adult sheep wool.


Lamb meat is tender and has a pink to pale red color. But sheep meat or mutton is reddish and has a more intense flavor. Mutton is also fattier than lamb meat.

Lamb meat is also more expensive than sheep because it’s tender, juicy, and has a mild taste.

Preferred Diet

Infant lambs drink sheep milk for a few days, and then they get creep feed, delicate flowers, legumes, etc. The babies don’t prefer to eat grass. Adult sheep eat short and soft grass as a staple diet.


Young lambs won’t have horns like sheep. You may notice tiny bumps on a male lamb’s head, but they are not similar to prominent sheep horns.

Health & Care

There are multiple breeds of lamb and sheep. The younger ones are susceptible to disease and injury, so you must provide proper care. Get them dewormed regularly, take them for vaccinations, and the rest is good.

The adults also don’t need too much care, and it’s easier to take care of them. But some common illnesses sheep are prone to are- botulism, blackleg, and tetanus. These diseases can spread rapidly among the flock so if you notice any symptoms, take veterinary assistance.

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Sheep are over 12 months old.

Key Facts About Lamb

  • A Lamb is a baby sheep less than a year old.
  • A male lamb is called a ram lamb, and a female lamb is called a ewe lamb.
  • A baby lamb usually doesn’t have horns, and they have shorter tails.
  • A lamb weighs 8 to 12 kg, and its meat is slightly pink to red.
  • Lamb skin is also used to make leather jackets, coats, pants, etc. Their skin is softer and smoother than an adult sheep’s skin.
  • Lambs are more fond of creep feed and suckling than grass and prefer to stay with the flock.

Key Facts About Sheep

  • Sheep is a mammal and a member of the Ovis Aries. Sheep are grown-up lambs that are more than one year of age.
  • Apart from sheep meat, these domesticated animals are also used for wool. People worldwide use sheep’s wool to make woolen winter clothes.
  • Sheep meat is called mutton or hogget, which is redder in color and has a more pungent taste and texture. Sheep meat is fattier than lamb meat.
  • Like lambs, a male sheep is called a ram, and a female sheep is a ewe.
  • Sheep prefer to eat short and tender grass. These are mainly grazers. A sheep can weigh from 30 kg to 100 kg.
  • People use sheepskin to make leather accessories. Sheep leather is harder than lamb’s, so people use it in making furniture as well.

Sheep or Lamb: Which One Should You Herd?

Most people domesticate sheep and lamb for their meat, fleece, and milk. Both these four-legged animals can earn you lots of profit when domesticated correctly. They are great for meat production as there is a massive demand for mutton or lamb chops.

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Lambs make great pets too. They are especially suitable for the countryside lifestyle, and if you are fond of these babies, you can bring them home.

Hopefully, you found the guide on lamb vs. sheep informative. If you are new to farming livestock, the information will help you breed them better.


Vanessa is passionate about written communication, especially after beginning her career as a middle school English teacher. She’s an experienced content marketer as well. Vanessa loves to analyze, compare, and contrast, which is why she writes for ContrastHub. Besides writing, Vanessa is a wife, mom, entrepreneur, spicy food enthusiast, comedy nerd and lifelong learner.

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