The sheep is a quadrupedal, ruminant mammal typically kept as livestock. An adult female sheep is called as a ewe an intact male as a ram, a castrated male as a weather, and a younger one as a lamb. These versatile animals provide the indigenous people with meat, milk and cheese, as well as clothing from wool and skins. The main sources of income for a farm will come from the sale of lambs and the shearing of sheep for their wool. According to the FAOSTAT database of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization the top five countries by number of heads of sheep were China , Australia, India , Iran, and in Sudan.
The United Nations FAO agency estimates that in 2012 there were more than 187 million sheep in China. Chinese farmers gets higher prices for their sheep than New Zealand farmers. Sheep are always sold on a liver weight basis, currently at about $6 per kg. Domestic demand for mutton in China has increased at an annualized rate of 4.4% over the past five years due to the surging purchasing power of Chinese people.
Australian sheep and lamb products exports to more than 100 countries across the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, United States and Asia and India etc because of the growing market opportunities. Australia is among the world’s biggest and efficient producers of commercial livestock and a leader in the export of red meat and livestock. There were more than 170 million sheep in Australia. Australian wool is the famous product from Australian sheep.
There are numerous sheep breeds are available in India some of them are Bannur, Bellary, Cheviot and Deccani etc. Sheep in India are mainly maintained on natural vegetation on common grazing lands, wastelands and uncultivated (fallow) lands, stubbles of cultivated crops and top feeds. Sheep in the Northern temperate area produce wool of good apparel quality like that in southern hills, the Nilgiri sheep also makes wool of similar quality.
More than 57% of the available animal units in Iran are sheep and goats. Iranian sheep and goat industry is owned by small farmers, based on extensive grazing, hugely influenced by the environmental variables. There are more than 28 sheep breeds available in Iran. The number of sheep are 52.2 million. It produce mainly coarse fiber which is suitable for Iranian carpet industry.