We are currently updating our School Pack and hope to have it available again soon. We apologise for any inconvenicence caused and are happy to take any quesions or requests you have - please call NSA on 01684 892661 or email email@example.com.
In the meantime, we hope you enjoy these sheep facts!
There are around 32.2 million sheep in the UK. That includes adult females (ewes), adult males (rams) and all their lambs.
Spring is when most of the 15.2 million ewes in the UK give birth to their lambs.
You might think all bleating sounds the same, but ewes recognise their lambs by their call when they wander too far away or get mixed in with the flock.
Sheep are called ‘ruminants’ because they have four stomachs.
There are more than 60 different breeds of sheep in the UK and they all have a role to play. Some can survive on mountains (even in the wildness of the Scottish Highlands), some make really good mothers and some produce lots of yummy lamb chops!
Around 65% of farmland in the UK can only be used to grow grass, so without sheep and cattle we would not be able to use that land to feed our growing population.
Land that can only grow grass is rarely (if ever) cultivated, meaning carbon is locked into the ground and not released into the atmosphere to contribute to climate change issues. Uplands and farmland in Wales alone store 400 million tonnes of carbon. This land also holds and filters rainwater.
More than 40% of our breeding flock is based in the uplands of the UK – and it is no accident that our strong sheep areas are also our biggest tourism areas, as sheep have created and continue to maintain our iconic landscapes.
As well as maintaining the landscape, sheep also encourage biodiversity. Without sheep our uplands would be completely overgrown and inhabitable to many types of plants, small mammals and ground nesting birds.
In lowland areas sheep put lots of natural nutrients back into the ground that the growing of cereals and vegetables takes out. Yes, we’re talking about poo!
Wool is the most sustainable fibre in the world as it is a natural product of the sheep’s life cycle, produced using little more than grass and herbage.
An adult ewe produces one fleece per year, which is skilfully removed by a sheep shearer.
Wool was incredibly valuable before the invention of synthetic fibres and was the foundation of an economic boom in the 13th century. That’s why you see pubs called The Fleece, The Lamb and The Drovers Arms, terraces of Weavers’ Cottages and grand Mill Houses in many towns and villages. These days the priority on most farms is producing meat rather than wool, but the UK still has an output of more than 22,000 tonnes of wool each year.
Farming has the ‘multiplier effect’. For example, in England there are 89,000 people employed on beef and sheep farms and other 500,000 in allied industries. That’s great news for the economy.
When buying lamb look out for one of the four logos pictured here, which guarantee quality and origin.
The Red Tractor logo means every critical step of the food supply chain is independently inspected to ensure food is produced to quality standards by assured farmers, growers and producers in the UK, from farm to pack.
Eating lamb is good for a healthy, balanced diet, as it has lots of nutrients in a relatively small amount of food, including iron, protein, folates, zinc and B vitamins.
Fully trimmed raw lean lamb contains just 8% fat.
Each year the UK produces nearly 290,000 tonnes of lamb, of which around one-third is exported around the world.
The average person in the UK eats 2.4kg of delicious lamb a year.