Top 10 interesting facts about Female sheep you probably had no idea.
If you belong to any countryside area or hill station or in the middle of city or any corner of the world, you have heard of sheep, I am sure. You must have played with the little furry animal while going on a road trips and finding a herd crossing the road. If you had a farm house, then sheep must have been a part of your family. But, how closely do you know about sheep and how well do you know about their wonderfully unique characteristics?
Let’s hear some interesting facts about this little gregarious yet highly independent creature, sheep -and by sheep I mean here, female sheep. Yes, they are called Ewes and they are extremely cute and they possess intelligent features.
Female sheep and her varieties of names
The name of a female sheep differs according to her age and her role in the farm. Interesting huh? Ewe, pronounced as “You” in United States is the common name. It is also known as “Yoe” as a slang term. The sheep younger than 1-year-old are called Ewe lamb and when she grows to be more than 1, she is called a yearling ewe. And if she plays the role of breeding lambs, she is called “brood ewes” and the same ewe after giving birth to lambs is called a dam of the lambs.
Ewe is caring and extremely bonded with her lambs
Ewe has a deep connection and bonding with her babies. Of Course, every mother in the world has it, but isn’t it unique that Ewe can recognize her lamb by their bleat (call) when it wanders far away. They have very good hearing and recognizing power. She is extremely emotional when it comes to their lambs and her emotions can be studied by the position of her ear.
Ewes can be born freemartin i.e. with characters like male sheep and lack of functioning ovaries
Similar to other herd animals, the reproductive strategy of Ewe is that a group of Ewes is mated by single Ram (male sheep). Ewes who are sexually matured at six to eight months, can breed seasonally while, some can breed throughout the year. They also have estrous cycle in every 17 days. Most interesting fact is that we can even observe some homo-sexual preference in sheep especially in male. In the case of Ewes, some which are born as twins with male sheep show freemartin behavior that means even female shows masculine behavior and lack functioning ovaries.
Female sheep is known for her great memory powers
A Uniquely great bonding with her offspring and a great memory power too, isn’t that something so fascinating about this widely found creature. Yes, she has so good memory that helps her remember almost 50 individual humans or sheep for years. And the part of brain and neural process is the same as human beings. So, now when someone forgets your birthday, you can say, damn! Even sheep’s got better memory than you. Makes perfect sense, huh? 😉
Ewe can self-medicate herself during illness and she is super clever
Why is it that sheep is used as a metaphor for something stupid or foolish? Research shows that, contrary to such popular beliefs, female sheep are known to have very high IQ, as equal to other cattle and are very clever as pigs. The most intelligent thing a female sheep does is medicate herself during any illness by eating specific plants. Wow, sheep’s got some real brain. They are also known for their capability of problem solving.
Sheep has high religious and traditional values
Sheep, both male and female are considered highly sacred in different traditional societies. Especially in Egyptian societies, they are considered so sacred that they are traditionally mummified after they die. Even in the ancient Sumerian society, who are the discoverer of first form of writing called Cuneiform script back in (4000-2000 BCE), has immortalized sheep by considering as a form of god in their religion. They are also the symbols of righteousness, sincerity and gentleness and compassion and used in one of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs.
Ewe is the source of many healthy diets and products
Well, unfortunately this amazing creature is mainly used for its meat which is eaten widely throughout the world. Even the milk is used to produce many dairy products among which cheese is particularly famous. Another very popular product is the wool and woolen products which can be extracted from sheep’s fur. The wool produced for sheep’s fur is quite expensive and widely demanded in the market. And about the wool, the fiber that most sheep grow is called wool. The wool from one sheep is called a fleece while the fleeces from the same farm, wool pool, region, or state are called a clip.
Ewes have excellent peripheral vision which makes them able to see behind their eyes
Ewes (generally all sheep) can see behind their eyes without turning pupils which happens because of their horizontal slit-shaped pupils. This gives them excellent peripheral vision. They have got visual field of almost 270ᵒ- 320ᵒ. However in some breeds, having lot of wools in their frontal part of face affects their vision causing them “Wool blindness”. Unlike many animals, sheep have color vision which makes them able to distinguish various colors such as black, red, brown, green etc. Their eye-contact is also one of the vital parts of communication which they mainly use during grazing.
Ewes have great sense of smell
This is another great sensory characteristic of Ewes (all sheep) that they have great smelling power. They have scent glands just in front of their eyes and also on their feet. The purpose of scent glands is still uncertain whereas the front gland is used for breeding purpose. It is also said that the feet gland is used for scent marker to help the lost sheep find their flock. Many researchers have said that the purpose of feet gland is for secretion of waste materials or for the same reasons of reproduction.
Ewes are afraid of darkness and depth
And amidst all these strength of characteristics, one of the major weaknesses of Ewes is that they have poor depth perception. Shadows and dips in the ground may scare sheep and cause them to draw back. An ewe will also avoid walking in darkness and move towards the lit area. They start moving uphill when disturbed.