Difference Between Sheep and Lamb

Sheep vs Lamb

When the difference between an adult and an offspring is understood, sheep and lamb would never be a problem. However, when it comes to sheep and lamb, there are other interests raised due to the common usage of lamb to refer their meat. Therefore, exploring their characteristics would be important and interesting as in this article.


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. Their 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.

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 in different ages depending on the performance, production, and disease prevalence.


Lamb refers to both younger sheep aged less than one year as well as their meat. In Australia, the lambs raised for meat are known as prime lamb. Salt-marsh lamb is the meat of those lamb grazing in the salt marshes, in Australia. Baby lamb is the youngest with the age less than 12 weeks, and a six month old is known as spring lamb; both are milk-fed. However, the lamb has been a delicious source of protein for many people across the world. The taste of the lamb is mild because of the tenderness of the lean, and which is mostly preferred in the Western countries. The colour of the lean ranges from light to dark pink, and contains more fat. Bones are also tender in texture in the lambs and also, they are porous in structure.

Forequarter, loin, and hindquarter are the three main kinds of meat in a lamb. Neck, shoulder, and front leg are contained in the forequarter, while the loin includes the meat around the ribs. The fore quarter contains more connective tissues than in other cuts. A whole lamb weighs about 5 – 8 kilograms. However, as referred in Australia, the old-seasoned lamb or sucker lamb (about 7 months old and milk-fed) weighs up to 30 kilograms, yet they are not old enough to be called as mutton. According to the different cuts, the recipes have been created by chefs, to extract the best taste out of lamb to be served in dishes that come on to the dining tables.

What is the difference between Sheep and Lamb?

• Sheep is the name used to refer the adults of their kind while lamb is the young stage, less than one year old of the same.

• Sheep is always an animal while lamb could be an animal as well as flesh or meat.

• Sheep are strong, experienced, and aged whereas lambs are tender, inexperienced, and young.

• Meat of sheep, mutton is more popular in Middle East and Eastern countries than in West where lamb is the first choice of the two.