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Difference Between Lamb and Sheep

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What is the difference between a lamb and a sheep? It is pretty challenging to differentiate this two as both are used as classification terms. The main difference between a lamb and a sheep is its age, but there are plenty of other physical differences. 

What is a Sheep?

A Sheep

A sheep is a medium-sized mammal that is very wooly, mainly kept for its meat, wool, and milk. However, sheep milk is not very popular compared to goat and cow milk.  Some animal lovers also keep them as pets.

What is a Lamb?

A Lamb

A lamb is a baby sheep that is less than 1 year old.

Differences Between a Lamb and a Sheep

A lamb and a sheep are the same animals at different age stages. Differentiating them is very simple because the lamb is physically smaller than a sheep. However, depending on the species, you might find it challenging to distinguish the two because some species like Dorper grow very fast. However, a significant difference between a lamb and a sheep is that sheep have a stiff spiral while a lamb is hornless.

Dorper sheep
Dorper Sheep


  • A lamb is a baby sheep that is less than one year old, while a sheep is mature, often more than a year old.
  • Lamb has a very tender meat that cooks easily, while a sheep has a tougher meat that takes quite some time to cook
  • A lamb lactates its mother to survive while a sheep forages on grass
  • Lambs meat is called spring and is mainly consumed by Christians anile a sheep meats is called mutton and is highly valued by the Muslim community
  • A lamb has little wool compared to a sheep
  • Another significant difference between a lamb and a sheep is that a lamb has a shorter tail, often less than 10 centimeters, while a sheep has a longer tail. 

Comparison Chart: Lamb Vs Sheep

The meaningA lamb is a baby sheep that is less than 1 year old
A sheep is a medium-sized mammal that is very wooly and is mainly kept for its meat and wool, and milk
Lactates its mother milk fully for three months before foragingForages grass
Spring lamb meatMutton or lamb
Meat taste
Very tenderGemmy and tough
Meat market demand
High Medium. Popular among the Muslim community
Group name
Wool production 
Quality of wool
HighLow. The quality of wool reduces with age
Slaughtering age
4-12 monthsOver one year
Fat content
Less fatty meatMore fatty meat
Meat price
HornlessStrong spiral horns
Roughly 20 inches longAveragely 5 feet long
Spend half-day playing and the other half sleepingMore relaxed. When they are not grazing, sheep chew cud
It doesn't produce milkProduces milk after birth and stops when the lamb is mature
Smooth and soft, often used in the manufacturing of leather jackets and wooly clothesTough and often used in the manufacturing of book covers and furniture

Similarities Between a Lamb and a Sheep

There are several similarities between a sheep and a lamb, and here are some that you should know;

  • Both are herbivores under the kingdom Mammalia
  • Both have been domesticated by man
  • Both the lamb and sheep are reared mainly for their meat and wool
  • Both are ruminants
  • Meat from both have very high market value and demand

How can you Tell the Age of your Sheep?

Knowing the age of your sheep is very important. It is vital in determining the right time to slaughter it for meat. To tell the age of your sheep, you should study its teeth. 

Sheep grow a pair of teeth after clocking one year age-wise. These teeth are permanent, and subsequently, it produces a new pair every year. 

Now you know! If your sheep has ten teeth, you divide the total number by two and add one year. 

Lamb Vs Sheep Meat

A lamb produces very tender and fatty meat called spring, which Christians esteem. On the other hand, sheep meat, mutton, is tougher, less fatty and valued by the Muslims. 

Meat Cooking Method

Lambs meat is often braised, grilled or roasted depending on how you want it eaten and the occasion. 

A sheep's meat, on the other hand, is best for making stew by simmering it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

👶 Is a lamb a young one of a sheep?

Yes, a lamb is a baby sheep that is less than one year old.

👀 Are lamb and sheep the same animal?

Yes, they are the same animal but of different ages. A lamb is a baby sheep less than one year old.

💸 Why is lamb meat more valuable than sheep meat?

A lamb's meat is very tender and taster than sheep's meat. Moreover, lambs have a higher mortality rate, and this makes lamb meat more expensive. Upon maturity, sheep's meat is still eatable but less tasty and fattier.

🍖 What are lamb chops, and are they healthy?

Lamb chops are pieces of meat from lamb that are rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals like iron and zinc. A 100-gram piece of roasted lamb chops contains 26 grams of proteins. 

Health-wise, lamb chops are healthy but should be eaten in moderation, especially by diabetics. 

🔝 How fast does a lamb grow?

It all depends on the feeding patterns. Like other animals, mother's milk is vital to the lambs' growth and from two months, you should supplement it with creep feed.

Furthermore, a hybrid lamb grows faster than traditional breeds. 

📈 When do lambs reach market weight?

The recommended market weight for lambs is 80-110 pounds, and at 6 months, a lamb should achieve this weight. However, factors like species type and feeding patterns can significantly impact the lambs' growth rate. 

😋 Does sheep taste good?

Both lamb and sheep meat are tasty when cooked properly, but lamb meat is more flavorful. 


Sheep and lamb are the same species of animal in different stages and are very important and valuable for their meat and wool. However, if you are looking for tastier meat, lambs' meat is the sweetest. For wool, sheep takes the day. Now you know!

Feel free to comment and discuss about the article in the comment space below if you have any information or remarks to add. If you think we made a mistake, you can also report it there.
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About the Author: Tom Vincent

Tom Vincent graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics and social studies. He then started his higher education at the University of François Rabelais in Tours with a DUT Information Communication. To expand his knowledge, he also followed a professional degree in e-commerce and digital marketing at the Lumière University of Lyon. On this project, he is in charge of articles covering language, industry and social.
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