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There are many breeds of domestic sheep, as well as several feral and wild ones.
Sheep have been kept to make wool to produce warm clothing, and for their milk production, which is turned also into cheese and butter. Female sheep are called ewes. Baby sheep are called lambs. Male sheep are called rams. People who look after sheep are called shepherds. Most shepherds also have a dog, which helps to look after the sheep. The smallest sheep weigh about 50 pounds. The largest sheep can weigh up to 300 pounds.
Breeding decisions are increasingly taken out of the hands of farmers and herders, which is affecting the valuable pool of genetic diversity, and could cause certain breeds to become extinct.
Governments must ensure nomadic people, pastoralists, and small-scale livestock keepers access to grazing and water, along with services and education, as they play an important role in genetic diversity. Governments must also ensure patents are NOT granted that infringe on the knowledge and way of life of the people of the land. Governments must prohibit patents on animals and genes, so the valuable pool of gene diversity may continue to prosper.
Sheep, n. sing. & pl. Etym: [oe. shep, scheep, as. sc, sceáp; akin to Ofries. sk, lg. & d. schaap, g. schaf, ohg. scaf, skr. chaga. sq. Root295. Cf. Sheepherd.]
Defn: any one of several species of ruminants of the genus ovis, native of the higher mountains of both hemispheres, but most numerous in Asia.
Note: the domestic sheep (ovis aries) varies much in size, in the length and texture of its wool, the form and size of its horns, the length of its tail, etc. It was domesticated in prehistoric ages, and many distinct breeds have been produced; as the merinos, celebrated for their fine wool; the cretan sheep, noted for their long horns; the fat-tailed, or turkish, sheep, remarkable for the size and fatness of the tail, which often has to be supported on trucks; the southdowns, in which the horns are lacking; and an asiatic breed which always has four horns.
2. A weak, bashful, silly fellow. Ainsworth.
Defn: fig.: The people of God, as being under the government and protection of Christ, the Great Shepherd.
Rocky mountain sheep.(Zoöl.) See bighorn.
-- maned sheep. (zoöl.) See aoudad.
-- sheep bot (zoöl.), the larva of the sheep botfly. See estrus.
-- sheep dog (zoöl.), a shepherd dog, or collie.
-- sheep laurel (bot.), a small North American shrub (kalmia Angustifolia) with deep rose-colored flowers in corymbs.
-- sheep pest (bot.), an Australian plant (acæna ovina) related to the burnet. The fruit is covered with barbed spines, by which it adheres to the wool of sheep.
-- sheep run, an extensive tract of country where sheep range and graze.
-- sheep's beard (bot.), a cichoraceous herb (urospermum dalechampii) of southern Europe; -- so called from the conspicuous pappus of the achenes.
-- sheep's bit (bot.), a European herb (jasione montana) having much the appearance of scabious.
-- sheep pox (med.), a contagious disease of sheep, characterized by the development of vesicles or pocks upon the skin.
-- sheep scabious. (bot.) Same as sheep's bit.
-- sheep shears, shears in which the blades form the two ends of a steel bow, by the elasticity of which they open as often as pressed together by the hand in cutting; -- so called because used to cut off the wool of sheep.
-- sheep sorrel. (bot.), a prerennial herb (rumex acetosella) growing naturally on poor, dry, gravelly soil. Its leaves have a pleasant acid taste like sorrel.
-- sheep's-wool (zoöl.), the highest grade of Florida commercial sponges (spongia equina, variety gossypina).
-- sheep tick (zoöl.), a wingless parasitic insect (melophagus Ovinus) belonging to the diptera. It fixes its proboscis in the skin of the sheep and sucks the blood, leaving a swelling. Called also sheep pest, and sheep louse.
-- sheep walk, a pasture for sheep; a sheep run.
-- wild sheep. (zoöl.) See argali, mouflon, and oörial.
---excerpt from the Illustrated Bible Dictionary
Sheep - Are of different varieties. Probably the flocks of Abraham and Isaac were of the wild species found still in the mountain regions of Persia and Kurdistan. After the Exodus, and as a result of intercourse with surrounding nations, other species were no doubt introduced into the herds of the people of Israel. They are frequently mentioned in Scripture. The care of a shepherd over his flock is referred to as illustrating God's care over his people ([[:Category:Book of Psalms (Psalms 1 - 75)#23:1|Psalms 23:1]], Psalms 23:2; Psalms 74:1; Psalms 77:20; Isaiah 40:11; Isaiah 53:6; John 10:1, John 10:7). "The sheep of Palestine are longer in the head than ours, and have tails from 5 inches broad at the narrowest part to 15 inches at the widest, the weight being in proportion, and ranging generally from 10 to 14 lb., but sometimes extending to 30 lb. The tails are indeed huge masses of fat" (Geikie's Holy Land, etc.). The tail was no doubt the "rump" so frequently referred to in the Levitical sacrifices (Exodus 29:22; Leviticus 3:9; Leviticus 7:3; Leviticus 9:19). Sheep-shearing was generally an occasion of great festivity (Genesis 31:19; Genesis 38:12, Genesis 38:13; 1 Samuel 25:4, 1 Samuel 25:36; 2 Samuel 13:23).
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