Terrill, Clair E. Sheep and Fur Animal Research Branch, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, Maryland.
Last reviewed:August 2020
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- General description
- Wool and skin
- Nutrition and feeding
- Production systems
- Diseases and parasites
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Members of the genus Ovis in the mammalian family Bovidae. Sheep are bovids (members of the family Bovidae) belonging to the order Artiodactyla (the even-toed, hoofed mammals). Sheep were possibly the first animals to be domesticated about 11,000 years ago in southwestern Asia. At that time, they were closely associated with the religious, civic, and domestic life of ancient peoples, and they are mentioned more often in the Bible than any other animal. The domesticated form is known as Ovis aries (Fig. 1) and is raised for its milk, meat, and wool. See also: Agricultural science (animal); Artiodactyla; Domestication
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