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What the judge looks for in sheep:

Sheep that are long-bodied and level-topped.

Animals that are healthy and alert, with no defects.

Sheep that stand up well on all four legs.

Good evidence of meatiness/muscle, with adequate growth for the animal's age.

Wool that is clean and properly prepared.

Especially for Breeding Animals, sheep that conform to the standards of the particular breeds. Consideration is also given to characteristics male and female traits.

What the judge looks for in the show ring:

A good exhibitor is polite and courteous to other exhibitors and pays attention to both the animal and to the judge at all times.

Showmanship includes general appearance, especially cleanliness of the animal and the exhibitor's ability to lead and pose the animal in the ring.

The judge observes the animals, checks their mouth for proper alignment of the jaws, and handles the animals to determine the dimensions of the bodies and the degree of meatiness/muscle.

The judge lines up the class in numerical order from the last to the first place based on his/her judgment of each animal's overall merits.


Ewe: a female sheep, any age

Lamb: a sheep less than 1 year old

Ram: a male sheep of any age that is used for breeding

Wether: a castrated male sheep, used for market

Feeder: a weaned animal that is ready for feeding or that is
being fed for market

Shearing: the removal of wool from the sheep by the use of special power clippers

Fleece: the wool from a single sheep in the shorn grease state


More than 100,000 ranchers are involved in the production of lamb and wool in the United States. Today, there are approximately 10 million head of breeding sheep in the country. There are many breeds of sheep, each with certain benefits. Some breeds excel in producing wool, while others produce a meat product. Producers choose a breed of sheep, or cross several breeds in order to achieve the results in lamb or wool production that they set for their operation. Today, lamb is the primary product from sheep, accounting for about 75 percent of the producer=s income.

Wool production in the United States is the most concentrated in Texas. Other western states, including Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas, Utah, Idaho and California, are large producers of fine wool, which is the best type of wool for processing. Ewes, which are the female sheep, are shorn annually and generally produce a fleece weighing 7-10 pounds. Rams, the adult male sheep, are also shorn annually, and will produce a significantly heavier fleece weighing up to 20 pounds, depending on the size of the animal and the density of its wool. The wool is shorn with clippers, which do not harm the sheep. The fleece comes off the sheep in a single large piece, and is bagged and shipped to a processing plant where it is washed in a process called Ascouring.@This process removes the dirt from the wool as well as some of the natural oil called Alanolin@, which is later used for their products. The wool is then combed by a machine that turns the wool into material for clothing, blankets and many other products. Its attributes are longevity and durability, warmth, elasticity and beauty.

You give it a try and see how your placings compare to the judges (fill in the exhibitors number):

Your Choice

1st place

2nd place

3rd place

4th place

Judges Decision

1st place

2nd place

3rd place

4th place
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