A F-ewe Surprising Facts About Sheep

Posted by 2 years ago | Permalink | Comments (9)

Sheep are a familiar sight in the British countryside. But how much do you really know about these gentle, good-natured animals? The following 10 facts about the personalities, intelligence and skills of rams, lambs and ewes might surprise you:

1. Sheep have extremely good memories. They can remember approximately 50 individuals (sheep and humans!) for years at a time.

Sheffield Tiger / cc by 2.0

2. Sheep have been shown to display and recognise emotion by facial expressions with other sheep. Some are noticeable from their ears.

 foxypar4 / cc by 2.0

3. When they experience stress or isolation, they show signs of depression similar to those that humans show by hanging their heads and avoiding positive actions.

Meneer Zjeroen cc by 2.0

4. Sheep make different vocalisations to communicate with one another.

Cloudsurfer_UK cc by 2.0

5. Ewes (female sheep) are very caring mothers and have deep bonds with their lambs. Each mother can recognise her lambs by their bleats alone.

Glen Bowman / cc by 2.0

6. About 8 per cent of domestic rams display preferences for other males as sexual partners.

Jörg Groß / cc by 2.0

7. Sheep’s large rectangular pupils allow them to see approximately 270 degrees – that’s about 100 degrees more than humans. They can even see behind themselves without turning their heads.

Rennett Stowe / cc by 2.0

8. Sheep are extremely good swimmers and have been known to cross rivers and lakes to seek out better pastures.

Ian Caldwellcc by 2.0

9. Sheep are very intelligent and have brain power equal to that of monkeys. They have been known to solve problems in order to reach better food sources. In 2004, sheep were documented rolling over cattle grids in order to get into gardens for grazing.

arjecahn / cc by 2.0

10. Sick sheep seek out plants which make them feel better. They can detect what nutrients they are deficient in and can learn about which foods are beneficial or toxic by trying them.

anemoneprojectors / cc by 2.0

Sadly, many of the UK’s 11 million sheep are abused by the meat and wool industries. They may be wounded during shearing, left to freeze to death on icy hilltops or die of malnutrition during the harsh winter months. Lambs can be sent to slaughter when they’re only months old.

You can do your bit for sheep by refusing to eat their flesh or wear their hair. There are plenty of cosy wool-free hats, scarves and jumpers on sale on the high street – or you could even knit your own! Download our free knitting pattern for a cruelty-free Christmas jumper here: PETAUK.org/xmasjumper. Baaah!


  • Hannah Perkins commented on December 8, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Of course these animals have feeling and emotion like human. These animals possiblely have more feeling and compassion thAt a lot of people do so sad they r still treated like shit :( really needs to stop

  • rita raeburn commented on December 8, 2013 at 10:32 am

    So cruel the way sheep are slaughtered and their baby lambs.hope one day they wont be slaughtered.we never eat sheep in our house.i use to round them up for farmer loveing creatures.god bless his sheep.

  • Karla Adam commented on December 8, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    What is M&S doing are they going to withdraw the sales and stocks of Angora wool that they market at an alarming rate and sells for over £100 plus just for a cardigan at a severe brutal cost of a precious angora rabbit sufferings !!!!!

  • Karla Adam commented on December 8, 2013 at 12:16 pm


  • Phee Mann commented on December 8, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    I haven’t eaten any sheepy or lamby food since May 2008 when I was working on Heartbeat in the Peak District surrounded by hundreds of the beautiful creatures. It was my favourite meat in the world, but my brief enjoyment wasn’t worth their lives. I’m also allergic to wool and when I have a big enough garden, my boyfriend has promised to get me some sheep we can love and look after.

  • celeste haylett commented on December 8, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    I think that we need to treat all animals with respect and stop killing and torturing them.god did not create them for us to make them suffer.he created them for us to love,protect and be a companion to us.why would he make intelligent animals with so much love for us to have to make suffer.he created plants fruit and vegetables for us.

  • Veronica May commented on December 8, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    I don’t eat Lamb, i just can’t. They are too young and i love for themselves. I do not agree with them being transported from Dover to France and other places either having endured many hours of travelling on the road, only tb slaughterd over there without pre stunning. Sheep get a raw deal and the Farmers should take better care of them

  • Dina Roberts commented on December 9, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Have not eaten lamb for years – they are babies for heaven’s sake – leave them alone!

  • PollyMinnier commented on October 17, 2014 at 2:06 am

    I’ve never eaten lamb or worn anything made from sheep, and I don’t really care to. I think that the animals are treated like shit also, and I won’t touch that. I too look at labels. I also have looked threw my clothes I already have to make sure I don’t have anything made from sheep or lamb. Farmers should be shut down for the crulity. Laws need to be passed to help these animals!!!

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