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How to Tell the Gender of Sheep

| Updated August 11, 2017


  • Approach a newborn sheep cautiously. Mother sheep can be aggressive. Use caution when handling sheep as they can become aggressive and defensive.


  • A female sheep is called a ewe. A male sheep is called a ram. A newborn sheep is called a lamb.

Sheep are highly social animals prized for their wool, milk and meat. Archeological finds indicate they may have been domesticated as early as 10,000 B.C. Today, there are over 1,000 breeds of sheep and many hybrid crossbreeds. Determining the gender of a sheep requires only a visual examination.

Examine the horns. Male and female wild sheep have horns. Some domesticated breeds also have horns. The horns of a male are significantly longer and thicker than that of a female sheep.

Look for teats. Female sheep are born with two teats. Males are not.

Look for a fist-sized udder in the abdominal area. A breeding female sheep will develop an udder just before birthing.

Look for a scrotum sack hanging between the hind legs. This is hard to spot at a distance on infant sheep, but can be easily spotted as they mature.