The sheep (Ovis aries) is a quadrupedal, ruminant mammal teepically keept as fermstockin. Lik aw ruminants, sheep are members o the order Artiodactyla, the even-taed ungulates. Awtho the name "sheep" applees tae mony species in the genus Ovis, in everyday uisage it awmaist alweys refers tae Ovis aries. Nummerin a little ower ane billion, domestic sheep are an aa the maist numerous species o sheep. An adult female sheep is referred tae as a yowe, an intact male as a tuip, a libbit male as a wedder, an a younger sheep as a lamm.
|A flock o sheep.|
Sheep are maist likely descendit frae the wild mouflon o Europe an Asie. Ane o the earliest ainimals tae be domesticatit for agricultural purposes, sheep are raised for fleece, meat (lamm, hogget or mutton) an milk. A sheep's oo is the maist widely uised ainimal feebre, an is uisually hairstit bi shearin. Ovine meat is cried lamm when frae younger ainimals an mutton when frae aulder anes. Sheep conteenue tae be important for oo an meat the day, an are an aa occasionally raised for pelts, as dairy ainimals, or as model organisms for science.
Sheep husbandry is practised ootthrou the majority o the inhabitit warld, an haes been fundamental tae mony ceevilisations. In the modren era, Australie, New Zealand, the soothren an central Sooth American naitions, an the Breetish Isles are maist closely associatit wi sheep production.
Sheepraisin haes a lairge lexicon o unique terms which vary conseederably bi region an dialect. Uise o the wird sheep began as a derivation o the Auld Inglis wird scēap; it is baith the singular an plural name for the ainimal. A group o sheep is cried a hirsel, flock, herd or mob. Mony ither speceefic terms for the various life stages o sheep exeest, generally relatit tae lammin, shearin, an age.
Bein a key ainimal in the history o fermin, sheep hae a deeply entrenched place in human cultur, an find representation in much modren leid an seembology. As livestock, sheep are maist eften associatit wi pastoral, Arcadian eemagery. Sheep feegur in mony meethologies—sic as the Gowden Fleece—an major releegions, especially the Aubrahamic tradeetions. In baith auncient an morden releegious ritual, sheep are uised as saicrifeecial ainimals.
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