How Much Does a Sheep Weigh? (99 to 350 Pounds)

A sheep weighs anywhere between 99 to 350 pounds, depending on gender, age, and breed of the sheep.

Rams are heavier than ewes, as they weigh between 99 and 300 lbs, while ewes will usually only weigh up to 250 pounds. Young sheep will weigh less than 99 pounds.

The heaviest sheep breed is the Lincoln sheep, which can weigh up to 350 pounds. On the other side of the spectrum, the lightest breed is the Southdown sheep which might only weigh up to 235 pounds.

The weight of a sheep will depend on several factors, explained below.

How Much Does a Sheep Weigh

The Weight of Sheep Breeds

One of the main factors that will determine the overall weight of the sheep is the breed of the sheep.

Naturally, some sheep are larger and heavier than other breeds, so it’s one of the main factors to consider.

Let’s take a look at some of the sheep breeds and their average weight.

Sheep BreedWeight (lbs)
Lincoln sheep200-300
Merino sheep125-235
Suffolk sheep180-350
Columbia sheep150-300
Southdown sheep130-235
Dorset sheep150-275
Rambouillet150-300
Shropshire sheep150-250

As you can see, the vast majority of sheep will weigh anywhere between 150 and 300 pounds. There are some exceptions, though; merino sheep are considered to be some of the lightest sheep around, while Southdown sheep are also quite light.

On the other hand, the Lincoln sheep is usually the heaviest sheep breed. This sheep will weigh between 200 and 300 pounds and potentially more with rams. Male sheep have the potential to grow much more than the average and can sometimes weigh up to 350 pounds or even more.

The average weight of a sheep is close to the average weight of a human being.

Factors that Determine Sheep Weight

The weight of the sheep will be determined by several factors. These are some of the main ones to keep in mind.

1. Breed

First and foremost, as we’ve already mentioned, the weight of the sheep will be largely influenced by the breed of the sheep. As you can see from the table above, the sheep breeds will be of different weights, which is very typical to see with sheep.

Some sheep are just naturally heavier than others, which is determined largely by genetics and the breed.

2. Gender

Rams are usually heavier than ewes.

The ram is much larger and bulkier than the ewe, as it might weigh up to 400 pounds for some sheep breeds.

This is the case, of course, for adult rams, while younger rams that are still growing will weigh much less. Keep in mind that rams have horns, which will add to the overall weight of the animal.

On the other hand, ewes are lighter and smaller than rams. An adult ewe might only weigh up to 250 pounds at most, and this is only the case with the largest sheep breeds and the larger ewes out there. The majority of them will weigh 200 pounds or less.

3. Age

Another important determining factor of the sheep’s weight is the age of the sheep. The older the sheep is, the more it will usually weigh. Adult sheep are obviously heavier than younger sheep that are still growing.

Young sheep, or lambs, will usually weigh up to 75 lbs. While they are still growing, their rate of growth will depend on genetics, breed, and the conditions that the lamb is kept in. Usually, a sheep will only reach its full weight between the ages of 12 to 18 months, and for some breeds, it might take even longer than that.

4. Living Conditions

The weight of the sheep will also depend on the living conditions that the sheep owner provides to the sheep. The better the living conditions are and the more food there is available, the heavier a sheep is likely to be.

The differences in weight between good and bad living conditions are not going to be significantly large, though. Sheep are known for their strong will and character and for their resilience and ability to survive in harsh conditions, so going without too much food is not going to affect them greatly.

There still might be a difference of a few pounds between sheep that eat a lot and those that don’t get too much food, though.

5. Other Conditions

Other conditions also come into play when it comes to the weight of the sheep, such as

  • Health – the healthier the sheep, the heavier it is likely to be. As sheep get older, they might start to lose weight.
  • Time of the year – yes, even the time of the year will determine how much a sheep will weigh. In the winter, they’re likely to be heavier than in the summer.
  • Pregnancy status – pregnant sheep are obviously going to weigh a lot more than other sheep because they are carrying a baby in the womb.
  • Shearing – when sheep are sheared, they will lose a few pounds of weight.

How Much Does a Fully Grown Sheep Weigh?

A fully grown sheep will weigh anywhere between 100 and 300 pounds, depending on the factors we’ve seen above.

Usually, lambs will weigh below 100 pounds, but might sometimes be heavier than that. The average weight of a lamb is between 60 and 80 pounds. This might still depend on the breed of the sheep.

A fully grown sheep will usually weigh more than 120 pounds. Ewes will weigh between 140 and 180 pounds, while rams might weigh up to 300 pounds and potentially even more than that – some will even weigh 400 pounds!

Why do we Eat Lamb and not Fully Grown Sheep?

It seems counterintuitive that farmers will slaughter lambs that have less weight (and therefore less meat) on them than fully-grown shepp.

Fully grown sheep meat, known as mutton, is eaten, but not nearly as much as lamb.

Even though lambs weigh less and produce less meat, their meat is much more juicy and tender. The young meat is much tastier and fetches a superior price on the market. Consumers enjoy lamb enough that it’s more profitable to sell lamb meat than sheep meat, despite the fact the lamb will produce less meat overall than a fully-grown sheep.

FAQs

How Much Does a Lamb Weigh?

Young sheep, or lambs, will usually weigh up to 75 lbs. While they are still growing, their rate of growth will depend on genetics, breed, and the conditions that the lamb is kept in. Usually, a sheep will only reach its full weight between the ages of 12 to 18 months, and for some breeds, it might take even longer than that.

How Much does a Ewe Weigh?

A Ewe will usually weigh between 99 and 250 Lbs depending on a range of factors including age, wool coat, how well it is fed, its diet, and breed.

How Much does a Ram Weigh?

Rams are heavier than ewes, as they weigh between 99 and 300 lbs, while ewes will usually only weigh up to 250 pounds. Young sheep will weigh less than 99 pounds.

Conclusion

Sheep reach approximately the same weight as human beings. The weight of the sheep will depend on the breed of the sheep, its health, living conditions, as well as gender and age. Heavier sheep are usually preferred for meat, while lighter sheep are better for milk, wool, and other benefits that they bring.

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