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5 Key Differences Between Rams and Goats

Key Differences Between Rams and Goats

While goats and rams might look similar, there are some big differences between them. The biggest and most obvious difference is that rams are much bigger and bulkier than goats.

Rams also have much larger and bigger curved horns. Other differences include hair, behavior, tail, and other subtle differences. Goats are also more independent and can survive in harsher conditions than domestic rams.

Rams and goats belong to the same family of animals – Caprinae. But they are a different species altogether.

Differences Between Rams and Goats

Here are some of the main differences between rams and goats.

1. Rams are Bigger and Heavier

The number one difference that you would notice instantly is the size and the weight of both animals. Rams are much bigger and heavier than goats, and this is something you would be able to see from a quick glance.

Depending on the species of the sheep, a ram would weigh up to 350 lbs, especially the largest rams in the world. On the other hand, goats will only weigh up to 300 lbs at the very most, but that number is on the extreme end – most will weigh much less.

There’s also a difference in size. Rams are much larger than goats, and you’ll see this at first sight, too.

Related Article: 37 Animals Like Goats

2. Rams Have Bigger Horns

One of the most distinctive features of a ram is its horns. The ram will use its horns to strike other rams and try to attack them.

Rams often fight one another against the other ram and hit each other with their horns. The more powerful ram will usually win out, although the fights can last for hours.

The goat, on the other hand, will more rarely use its horns for fighting other goats. They might still do it, but not to the extent that the rams do it.

This is why the horns of the goat are much smaller than the horns of a ram in general.

Rams will also use their horns to establish dominance in their social circle and over other rams. The more masculine and powerful a ram is, the larger its horns will be.

Nevertheless, most female sheep will also have small horns. Females rarely develop horns as large as rams because they don’t fight for dominance. An example of a ewe with horns is the female bighorn sheep.

Related Article: Ram vs Bull

3. Rams Have Longer Hair

Another difference between goats and rams is the hair. Rams will have much longer and thicker hair than goats, which have thin coats.

Many farmers will use their sheep for their wool which is quite profitable, but the goats are rarely used for that. Goats will more likely be farmed for their milk.

Goats have other uses. They’re used for their milk and sometimes for their meat, but they’re also great for grazing grass and taking care of landscapes, which saves the farmer quite a lot of work. 

Sheep will also need to be sheared at least once a year. This will prevent the sheep from getting too hot and the shearing needs to be done in the spring to help the sheep feel more comfortable in the summer days.

Goats, on the other hand, don’t usually need shearing at all.

4. Goats are More Independent

While both rams and goats prefer to stay with other counterparts to form herds, goats are generally a bit more independent when compared to sheep.

Sheep are very dependent on their human owners, although you’ll also find some wild sheep breeds such as Bighorn sheep that survive on their own in very remote mountainous areas.

On the other hand, it is not uncommon to find wild goats. They will survive in harsh conditions and weather because they’re very hardy animals, and they also don’t require a lot of maintenance to survive. This makes them highly independent and resourceful.

Goats are still seen as prey in the wild though, so they need to keep safe from their predators.

To do this, they will often climb rough terrain such as rocks and mountains to stay away from their predators, but sometimes, even that might not be enough for them. The same can be observed with wild sheep.

5. They’re Different Species

At the end of the day, even though sheep and goats are similar animals, they are different breeds completely.

Even though they have some similarities in terms of their character and behavior, they’re ultimately different animals and there are key genetic differences between the two that you can’t ignore.

Goats and sheep both belong to the Caprinae family of animals, but they are different species.

Goats are Capra hircus, while sheep are Ovis aries. In this sense, these two animals are completely different species, but they have some similarities so they belong to the same family of animals.

Is a Ram Stronger than a Goat?

A ram (male sheep) is usually stronger than a goat and would win a fight between the two.

The ram will use its big horns and its charging technique to defeat the goat, which doesn’t have the same capabilities as the ram. The goat would not be able to defend against the attack from a sheep so it will probably lose out in a fight.

A ram would charge at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour at the most, and the goat would not be able to defend against that. Goats don’t have strong defensive mechanisms, so the ram would defeat the goat with its strong horns.

Goats are a bit more agile than rams though, so they might have a slight advantage in a race or when climbing rough terrains. That is the only way a goat would be able to evade attacks from a ram.

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Rams and goats are similar in many aspects, but there are also some key differences between these two animals. For starters, rams are heavier and bulkier than goats and have much bigger horns than goats. Rams also have longer hair than goats. Ultimately, these two animals belong to different species.

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