Sheep and Goats... Touching you daily

There are over 7,000 sheep and lamb operations in Texas and over 68,000 in the United States.

They produce over 194 million popounds of lamb and mutton (meat) per year worth nearly $175 million.

Goat Production

  • Texas has over 1.2 million goats which includes:
    • 240,000 Angora goats that produce over 1.6 million pounds of mohair per year
    • 1 million meat goats
    • 30,000 milk goats
  • While milk goats are raised throughout the United States, most of the fiber (mohair) and meat goats can be found in Texas.
  • Texas is #1 in number of goats and mohair production, beating out Arizona, New Mexico and California.
  • Top Counties – All Goats (5 year average)
    1. Edwards 80,200
    2. Sutton 73,000
    3. Val Verde 55,200
    4. Mills 50,000
    5. Kimble 47,200
    6. Crockett 43,600
    7. Schleicher 40,000
    8. Gillespie 38,600
    9. Uvalde 36,400
    10. Tom Green 34,400

The value of Mohair Production

  • Texas $3.5 million
  • United States $3.9 million

The value of Wool production

  • Texas $4.9 million
  • United States $26.2 million

United States goat inventory by type (3 year average)

  • Angora 260,000 head
  • Milk 290,000 head
  • Meat 2,300,000 head


Sheep and Goats are called ruminants because they are hooved, cud-chewing animals that lack upper incisor teeth and have a four-compartment stomach. These compartments are the rumen, the reticulum, the omasum, and the abomasum.

  • When grazing – plant material is chewed a little before being swallowed. Part-digested food is stored in the rumen where it is broken down in to cud by bacterial action.
  • When ruminating – cud is regurgitated and chewed again while the ruminant is lying down. The food swallowed for the second time bypasses the rumen. The food is finally processed by acids and digestive enzymes in the other stomach chambers

Other ruminants include cattle, buffalo, deer, elk and giraffes.


Predators are animals such as coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, dogs and other types of meat-eating animals that hunt for food.

  • Texas – Cost of Sheep & Lamb Losses
    • Coyotes - $2,800,000
    • Bobcats - $818,000
    • Dogs - $705,000
    • Other - $442,000
    • Eagles - $320,000
  • United States – Cost of Sheep & Lamb Losses
    • Coyotes - $11,100,000
    • Dogs - $2,400,000
    • Other - $1,300,000
    • Mountain Lions, cougars, etc. - $1,000,000
    • Bobcats - $910,000

Preventative Measures – ranchers often use guardian animals such as dogs, donkeys and llamas to protect their herds from predators.

Grazing for Hire

  • In Texas, landowners are using sheep and goats to control unwanted vegetation and brush, such as broadleaf weeds and cedar
  • This helps the environment by controlling wildfires, improving grass pastures, and adding fertility to the soil.

Sheep History

  • Since biblical times, sheep have provided three basic human needs: food, clothing, and shelter.
  • This enabled early civilizations to explore and inhabit colder regions of the world.

See how many of these things you and your family use!

  • From Hide & Wool
    Tennis Balls
    Drum Heads
    Artists Brushes
    Pelt Products
    Rouge Base
    Rug Pads
    Asphalt Binder
    Ointment Base
    Felt Carpet
    Hide Glue
    Paint & Plaster Binder
  • From Fats
    Medicines Candles Creams & Lotions
    Chewing Gum Shaving Cream Tires
    Crayons Shampoo Paraffin
    Cosmetics Conditioner Chicken Feed
    Dog Food Explosives Antifreeze
    Oleo Margarine Paints Floor Wax
    Ceramics Rennet for Cheese Tallow
    Hand Soap Industrial Oils Chemicals
    Dish Soap Stearic Acid Rubber Products
    Biodegradable Mink Oil Insecticides
    Detergent Shoe Cream Herbicides
  • From Bones, Horns & Hooves
    Marshmallows Gelatin Bone China
    Pet Foods Rose Food Wallpaper & Wallpaper Paste
    Bandage Strips Plano Keys Steel Ball Bearing
    Buttons Bone Charcoal Pencils Fertilizer
    Ice Cream Abrasives Neatsfood Oil
    Combs & Toothbrushes Bone Jewelry Plywood & Paneling
    Dog Biscuits Bone Meal Photographic Film
    Phonographic Records Horn & Bone Handles Cellophane Wrap
    Dice Collagen & Bone for Plastic Surgery Emery Boards & Cloth
    Tape Collagen Cold Cream Syringes
  • From Meats
    Bar-B-Que Ribs
    Pot Roast
    Round Steaks
    Lamb Chops
    Leg of Lamb
    Ground Lamb
    Rack of Lamb
  • From Manure
    Nitrogen Fertilizer
    Minor Minerals
  • From Intestines
    Instrument Strings
    Surgical Supplies
    Tennis racquet
    Sausage Casings

Goat Breeds

In the United States, there are three primary breed types and over 60 recognized domestic breeds of goats in the world!

  • Angora – Fiber
  • Nubian – Milk
  • Boer - Meat

Goat History

  • Domestic goats were among the first domesticated animals. About 10,000 – 11,000 years ago they were kept for milk, meat, clothing and shelter by Neolithic farmers in the Near East
  • Early explorers kept goats on ships to provide milk and meat on long voyages
  • Today they can be found in all climates and regions still providing our basic needs and beyond.

Separating the Sheep from the Goats

  • Two distinct species and genus
    • Sheep have 54 chromosomes
    • Goats have 60 chromosomes
  • Look at their tails
    • Sheep tails hand down
    • Goat tails point up
  • What do they eat
    • Sheep are grazers, preferring to eat short, tender grass and clover. They like weeds and can graze very close to the soil surface.
    • Goats are browsers, preferring to eat leaves, twigs, vines and woody shrubs. They will stand on their hind legs to eat vegetation.
  • Watch their behavior
    • Sheep have a strong flock mentality that provides the best defense against predators.
    • Goats are very curious and independent. They are adaptable and can be raised successfully in any part of the U.S.
  • Called by different names
    • Female Sheep: Ewes
    • Young Sheep: Lambs
    • Male Sheep: Rams
    • Female Goats: Does
    • Young Goats: Kids
    • Male Goats: Bucks
  • What do they say?
    • Sheep say BAA!
    • Goats say MAA!

Some of the best wool in the world is grown on farms and ranches in Texas and then loomed into fabrics of the finest quality.

There are two kinds of goats raised for fiber.

  • The Angora goat (mohair) and the Cashmere goat (cashmere). While all goats have hair, the hair from these two breeds is particularly soft, warm, luxurious and woven into fine apparel.
  • Goat meat is termed either cabrito or chevon, depending on the goat's age at harvest.
  • The meat is unique in flavor and palatability. It is leaner than many other red meats and usually less tender and is also very low in fat and cholesterol.

Did You Know?

Some of the best wool in the world is grown on farms and ranches in Texas and then loomed into fabrics of the finest quality.