Difference Between Ewe and Sheep

Ewe vs Sheep

It does not sound like the most difficult task to discuss the difference between ewe and sheep as it would be equivalent to the difference between the human being and an adult woman. However, there are some important facts about them, especially when the attentions are paid to the purposes of raising those animals. This article intends to discuss the particular facts about both ewe and sheep, and the important differences between them.


Ewe is the adult female sheep. Usually, ewes are raised for dairy and meat production. As dairy production is one of the main uses, the reproduction becomes important since calving is necessary to produce milk. Usually, ewes do not develop horns, but sometimes there are small horns. They being the females, the most wanted reproductive system includes ovaries, uterus, vagina, vulva, and other parts. External identification feature in ewes is the vulva. Although there is no major difference in their faces from others, experienced shepherds could distinguish a female from the feminine expressions of the face of ewe.

As the secretion of testosterone is very low in ewes, the aggression is limited or almost none. Female lambs become sexually matured after four to six months from birth. In fact, only the sexually matured females are referred as ewes, and the length of their oestrus cycle is seventeen days. Upon breeding with a ram, they undergo the pregnancy period that lasts for five months. After that, the nourishment of the young or the lambs takes place via secreting milk. That means they become important in the dairy production.


Sheep is a very valuable livestock animal for the man. Presently, there are more than 1,000,000,000 domestic sheep in the world, and Australia, New Zealand, and British Isles have been the major producers of sheep in the world. Sheep’s coat is woolly, and it needs regular combing and annual shearing. In fact, wool is one of the very important products of sheep as there is a high demand for their wool to be used in human clothing as an insulator. The flesh of both adult and young sheep (known as mutton and lamb respectively) are popular among people, and being prepared as delicious dishes in many countries. Additionally, the meat of sheep is known differently in different places; for example, lamb is used to name adults’ meat in United States.

Somehow, sheep naturally have a hanging long tail, but it is often docked due to health and sanitary issues. Sheep have tear glands beneath their eyes and scent glands between toes. The characteristic groove to divide the upper lip is distinct. Usually, a sheep could live up to 10 – 12 years, but they are being culled at different ages depending on the performance, production, and disease prevalence.

What is the difference between Ewe and Sheep?

• Ewe is the name to refer female sheep while sheep refers usually to male. In other words, ewe is always a female, but sheep can be both.

• Ewes are useful for dairy and meat production while sheep would have wool production in addition to those.

• The feminine expressions could be spotted in ewes due to female hormones but not in male sheep.

• Ewe is the most important counterpart of sheep in milk production.