Do black sheep usually become goats?

Aaaay, whut?

Is this a metaphorical question? If so, it’s generally a bad idea to mix your metaphors. You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead, if you see what I mean.

If you seriously believe that black sheep TURN INTO goats – no. Not even slightly possible.

Taxonomy diagram of Ruminantia, showing sheep and goats as separate species.

They’re different genuses – Ovis (sheep) and Capra (goats) – which means they’re like taxonomic cousins. They can interbreed, but it’s rare, like human cousin-marriage. But a sheep turning into a goat is as likely as you turning into your Cousin Kevin.

Ewww.

Quora linky.

Why is there always a black sheep in a flock?

Don’t be daft.

These are Manx Loghtans;

They’re all that kind of rusty brown – no other colour.

Herdwick lambs are born almost completely black:

Then turn a bright orangey-brown (their head turn white within weeks of birth):

before finally becoming grey around the time of first shearing:

Shetland sheep are every colour possible:

Coburg Fox sheep – born orange, fades to taupe:

Dryesdale – white only:

Jacob sheep, doin’ their own crazy thang since Methuselah was a lad:

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Why would a vegan be opposed to wearing wool when sheep need to be sheared?

Because vegans lack common sense, and have no understanding of the natural world.

Their existence is only possible in a post-scarcity Western society, where there are lots of vegan alternatives which are only available by raping and bankrupting developing nations for their avocado toast, cutting down rainforest to grow their monoculture soybeans, and destroying and polluting the environment for their cotton clothing and ocean-destroying plastic ‘leather’.

They need to spend a year or two living on locally-sourced turnips and wearing nettles to knock some damned sense into them.

Quora linky.

Why don’t goats produce wool the way sheep do?

Strictly speaking?

Because goats produce their own spinnable fibre – notably the Cashmere goat breeds and the Angora goat, which produce cashmere and mohair respectively. Yes, mohair – not angora, which is produced by the Angora rabbit.

Historically, or rather paleoagriculturally, sheep appear to have been bred primarily for their wool, whereas goats seem to have been bred primarily for milk, although there are such things as milk sheep and, clearly, fibre goats. I can only hazard a guess that the primitive sheep domesticated by our ancestors must have produced more fibre than goats did*, and/or that primitive domesticated goats had more milk or were easier to milk than sheep

Milk goat

Milk sheep.

Yep, definitely easier to milk the goat.


* – The Jacob sheep, a relatively primitive breed, produces about 2–3kg fleece, whereas (modern) Cashmere goats produce only 1kg.

Quora linky.

What is the reason that when sheep are shorn, three of their legs are tied and one is left free?

I don’t know, What IS the reason that when sheep are sheared, three of their legs are tied and one is left free?

Oh, it wasn’t a joke? Oh well.

I’ve never, ever seen a sheep tied up for shearing. Ever. In 53 years. When you’re shearing a couple of thousand semi-feral fuzz balls, you don’t have time to indulge in a bit of S&M.

Not judging, though. You do you.

Quora linky.

Why hasn’t science introduced Angora goat genes into sheep to produce better wool?

There’s not much point.

Angora goat fibre, aka mohair, has its own qualities. It’s primarily used for making suits as it’s quite hardy, but it’s not usually suitable for next-to-skin garments.

Meanwhile, in the sheep world, there’s a humongous range of qualities. Merino and Blue-faced Leicester for under-clothing and babywear, Wensleydale for silk-like, drapey clothing, Icelandic for sturdy cold-weather outerwear, Shetland for lightweight but warm socks and sweaters, Scottish Blackfaced for carpetting, through to mixed-breed meat-sheep’s scraggly fleece that’s only good for house insulation or composting.

Goat genes would add nothing that isn’t already available in one or other sheep breed.

Quora linky.

How many different names are there for a sheep?

Let’s see…

Hector, Angus, Florrie, Noreen, Tillie, Dandelion, Gerda, Millie, Antoinette, Upsy Daisy, Thora, Rosie, Ethel, Dorothy, Bunty, Barb Wire Betty, Casserole, Plum Duff, Mint Sauce, and Wee Shughie.

At least, that’s the names of the sheep next door.

Barb Wire Betty. She’s actually a WHITE sheep.
Antoinette and Upsy Daisy.
Noreen and Florrie stopping by for a wee cuppa hay.

Quora linky.

Does shearing a sheep’s wool hurt the sheep in any way? If it did hurt the sheep, could you just “trim” the wool instead of taking it all off?

No. It’s like you getting a haircut.

Trimming is the same as cutting, in hair terms – except less hair is removed. Trimming wool does not help the sheep; it leaves most of the wool in place which is uncomfortable and unhealthy. In addition, the trimmed wool ends would be too short to have any commercial value and would end up in landfill. As wool flocks would no longer have any commercial value, thousands of sheep farmers would go out of business and their flocks would be slaughtered. Those industries dependent on sheep wool would have to turn instead to synthetic alternatives which are very damaging to the environment.

Quora linky.

Are goats hard to maintain when compared to sheep?

It depends what you’re looking for.

Goats are more like cats – only semi-domesticated. In some ways, that’s great – they’ll look after themselves. In others, it’s not so good – they’ll get into the veg garden or the laundry, and destroy all before them. They can be super-affectionate one minute, and charging at you malice aforethought the next. Just like cats, really.

Milk-goats are probably more domesticated, less damaging, and less homicidal than most. But they need to be milked at least once a day unless you want to deal with kid goats as well.

Sheep … well, temperament varies with breed. Blue-Faced Leicesters and Wensleydales are aristocrats and you are the peasant servicing their every need – they’re the cats amongst sheep breeds. Southdowns, Hebrideans and Valais Blacknoses are puppy-affectionate, if you’re willing to be a hands-on shepherd and spend time with them; they’re also great with children. The more feral Soay, Ronaldsay and Boreray are like wary domesticated dogs, or foxes. You can win their trust up to a point so they’ll come to you, but you will never be ‘pack’, and they will dash off at the first hint of something out of the normal.

However, virtually any sheep can be a pet provided you take them in and bottle-feed them from birth: ideally, pick a ewe or a castrated male – never a full ram, as they’re just as homicidal as goats, and often three or four times the size. Here’s a sheep that was raised with pups:

Its demeanour, body language, and movement is all dog. Hopefully, these dogs have all been trained not to jump on people – this boyo is only half-grown.

The downside is that sheep often require more veterinary input, and, of course, the shearing – unless you get a feral breed that naturally sheds its fleece, and are prepared to work hard on charming them.

Quora linky.

What is the natural purpose of lanolin in sheep’s wool?

Like the grease in your hair, it’s there to lubricate and condition the hair (kemp) and undercoat, thereby keeping it soft, smooth, and damage-free.

Unlike us, the sheep does not strip off its natural moisturiser with harsh soaps and shampoos, and therefore does not suffer from frizz, fly-aways and split ends, therefore (again unlike us) they don’t need to re-grease their hair with oily conditioners, masks and serums and styling products, which often contain lanolin (or a near-identical chemical) as the moisturising agent.

However, some sheep do get the full salon treatment for shows:

Because they’re worth it.