"I see you have goats!"
If I had a dollar for every time someone said this to me...
For all you city folk out there, let me explain:
Goats have small pointy tails that stick straight up in the air, kinda like a deer, while sheep have long tails that hang down, kinda like that of a cow.
There, that was easy, wasn't it? But, you say, I thought sheep had short stubby tails and thick puffy wooly coats! Well, katahdins are a type of hair sheep, so they aren't very wooly to speak of. They shed their winter coats sort of like a horse would in the springtime. It isn't necessary to shear, or clip their coats, because they shed naturally. Of course, if you are into wool and want the fiber, then hair sheep are not for you. However, if you are looking for a meat breed that tolerates the heat well, then meet katahdins.
As far as tails go, all sheep are born with long tails. For health reasons, the big wooly breeds have usually had their tails docked shorter. This is because manure and urine gets stuck in the thick wool of their tails. Not only is this dirty and stinky, but it can attract blowflies, which lay their eggs in the soiled wool (gross right?) ...Then the maggots, which subsequently hatch, burrow into the tails of the poor creatures... Obviously this is a problem. If the sheep doesn't get help, the resulting infection in its tail can spread, be very painful, and given long enough, even kill the sheep. So this is why tails get docked. Since katahdins are hair sheep, this just isn't much of an issue with them and therefore they get to keep their nice long tails without any further discussion or argument. For some people, including yours truly, not having to deal with docking tails or fly strike is a huge plus, thank you very much.
So yes, sometimes people confuse our sheep with goats. But now perhaps a few of you will be the wiser for it and can help educate the rest of everyone about how to tell sheep from goats.
I'm Debbie. I love listening to chickens cackle and sing. I love Lindt chocolate truffles, a good cup of coffee, and a good book.