The key difference between sheep and lamb is that sheep refers to the actual adult animal while lamb refers to baby sheep that is in its first year or to meat of young sheep.
Sheep are a type of domesticated animals. The term lamb, however, has two different meanings. It refers to both young live sheep as well as the meat of young sheep.
What is Sheep?
Sheep is a very valuable livestock animal of man. Presently, there are more than 1,000,000,000 domestic sheep in the world, and Australia, New Zealand, and British Isles are 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, which works as an insulator in human clothing. The flesh of both adult and young sheep (known as mutton and lamb respectively) are popular among people. 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 long hanging tail, but it is often docked due to health and sanitary issues. They have tear glands beneath their eyes and scent glands between toes. The characteristic groove to divide the upper lip is distinct. Usually, a sheep can live up to 10 – 12 years, but they are culled in different ages depending on the performance, production, and disease prevalence.
What is Lamb?
Lamb refers to both younger sheep in its one year and its meat. In Australia, the lambs raised for meat are known as prime lamb. Salt-marsh lamb is the meat lamb who graze in the salt marshes of 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, lamb also serves as a delicious source of protein for many people across the world. The taste of the lamb is mild due to the tenderness of the lean. The colour of the lean ranges from light to dark pink, and contains more fat. Lamb bones are also tender in texture and porous in structure.
Forequarter, loin, and hindquarter are the three main kinds of meat in a lamb. Forequarter includes the meat of neck, shoulder and front leg constitutes, while loin includes the meat around the ribs. The forequarter contains more connective tissues than other cuts. A whole lamb weighs around 5 – 8 kilograms. However, 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.
What is the Difference Between Sheep and Lamb?
Sheep vs Lamb
|Sheep refers to the adult animal||Lamb refers to young sheep or their meat|
|Older than one year||One year or less than one year|
|Grazes on grass||Consume milk|
|Stronger than lamb||Tender|
|Comparatively less desirable||More Desirable|
Summary – Sheep vs Lamb
Sheep is a domesticated animal that provides meat and milk. Young sheep in their first year are known as lamb. Moreover, the word lamb also refers to the meat that comes from baby sheep. Lamb is tenderer than sheep and more desirable as a meat. This is the difference between sheep and lamb.