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Why separate sheep from goats?

09/22/2008 8:14 PM

I'm on an agricultural roll. I know we don't have an Agricultural Engineering section, so I'm hoping this is OK in General Discussion. The question is, I think, aimed mainly at our friends in the Mideast.

In the Christian New Testament, book of Matthew, 25th Chapter, 32nd verse, there is the line, "...he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats."

It seems fairly obvious that this dividing must have been a common practice in transhumant herding. My problem is that we don't really have any mixed flock herding in the US, except for a few small holdings, and so there is no local knowledge of why this division occured.

My suspicion is that this might have been for purposes of milking, though I'm not too sure. When I was a kid, we used one bucket for milking the Guernseys and another for the Jerseys, but nobody ever separated the animals.

So, do any of you who live in mixed flock areas know the reason for this division?

And, please, if you have some theological interpretation of this, send it to me by private message. I really want a scientific answer without getting the thread shut down.

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#1

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/22/2008 8:42 PM

I have heard(herd) a theological rule of thumb pertaining to the consumption of animals--Cloven hooves and cud chewing and all that. I think goats may not fit the bill and sheep may????? For me, as long as it isn't a rat or a snake and I have some Johnny's salt to put on it, I'll eat it.

Praise the creator of the universe for "Young Mountain Lamb Satays with Peanut Sauce, Sticky Rice and Artisan Pickles"--Now I am hungry. Hunger is more scientific than theological, I think(Yes--I am fat).

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/22/2008 10:17 PM

A Google search, Separating Sheep from Goats, brought up some answers based on the worlds perspective as well as the Bibles.

Very interesting.

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#19
In reply to #1

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/24/2008 5:48 PM

You really should give rat and snake a try some day- both are very tasty, when prepared properly...

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#23
In reply to #1

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/24/2008 9:52 PM

Red pepper jelly with lamb mmmmmmmm

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#26
In reply to #23

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/25/2008 1:42 PM

or even mint jelly

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#3

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/22/2008 11:37 PM

The reason for separating the sheep from the goats could be for the difference in their grazing patterns, and for wool gathering.

I have heard that sheep graze closer to the soil than other animals. If that is so, you want the goats to feed in a pasture before the sheep, or the sheep will not leave enough for the goats to feed on.

Sheep are better producers of wool than goats. When you are shearing sheep, I imagine you do not want to have to deal with a goat that might have gotten into the herd. Goats are more willful creatures than sheep, and so they would be not as cooperative at shearing time.

Also, I believe there is a prohibition in the Law of Moses against wearing a garment of mixed thread, so they would not mix wool from two different kinds of animals. This might have practical aspects along with the theological. In those days, they probably didn't have the ways to treat the threads like we do today. Mixing threads of two different types of wool could affect the fabric's durability, strength, and other characteristics.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/23/2008 7:23 PM

I think you may be on to something with the grazing. Sheep graze low only while goats graze from low to high depending on what's available. In a low forage environment, it would make sense for a shepherd to separate the sheep from the goats in the morning in order to take the sheep to low growing forage and the goats to the higher stuff. This would roughly maximize the herd density.

Now I'm hoping for some confirmation from somebody who lives near that sort of grazing.

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/24/2008 3:17 AM

goats graze from low to high depending on what's available

True:-

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#11
In reply to #6

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/24/2008 6:22 AM

ROFLMAO! Thanks.

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/24/2008 7:46 AM

that's baaaaad!

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#17
In reply to #12

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/24/2008 11:24 AM

At least it wasn't cheesy! But then, he might be trying to pull the wool over someone's eyes.

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#31
In reply to #4

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/29/2008 8:31 AM

Goats graze from high to low. They will all so pick the more nutritious plants some of them no other animal will eat. Sheep tend to browse close to the ground. So close that they leave nothing for other grazing animals to feed on. Some times pulling up the roots in loose soils. That was the big complaint about sheep herders by the cattlemen in the early American West.

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#33
In reply to #31

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/29/2008 3:53 PM

Congrats on getting it straight.

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#5

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/23/2008 10:41 PM

To keep the race pure off course, Jawohl

you don't want a shoats or geeps!

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#7

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/24/2008 4:08 AM

I think that it may be some thing to do with hormones. Put a group of goats with a group of sheep, and before you know it, in stead of the goats grazing the goats will be competing for their favours. Problems, problem etc.

Regards JD.

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#10
In reply to #7

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/24/2008 6:11 AM

Sorry got my goats and rams mixed up. Goats milk gave me the clue.

Regards JD.

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#8

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/24/2008 4:37 AM

Middle Eastern sheep look very different to our western breeds, in fact they look remarkably like goats. Shepherds often run mixed flocks. When I lived in Beirut, our cheese came from a shepherd who grazed his mixed flock in between buildings in the bombs sites and vacant lots. He sold both sheep's milk and goat's milk cheese through the office windows to our staff.

In short, both produce milk, but it has a different flavour and makes different kinds of cheese. The meat also tastes different so flocks do need be separated out. The type of flock referred to in the New Testament is the Middle Eastern flock where the sheep and goats cannot easily be distinguished at a distance.

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#14
In reply to #8

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/24/2008 9:07 AM

I voted you a GA for beating me to the cheese. I think that's about exactly the bottomline reason, all biblical references aside. The milk makes very different tasting cheeses. Goat cheese = Feta, while sheep cheese is more like mozzarella if I remember right (been a long while since I had some...).

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#9

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/24/2008 5:43 AM

To deter hanky x panky?

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#13

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/24/2008 7:55 AM

Sheep are good eats, goats are nasty tasting lil boogers.

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#15

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/24/2008 10:55 AM

For one thing, goats tend to "herd" sheep. When raising stock, one does not want the animals overly excited as that tends to hurt meat quality.

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/24/2008 11:19 AM

Also true - GA!

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#18
In reply to #15

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/24/2008 4:10 PM

most sensible answer i have seen. goats are territorial, the females as well as the males have horns and they use them. i could see the sheep being run off of all the good graze and beaten also. good answer yes, when sheep get excited and are run all of the time, they do not put on weight.

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#20

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/24/2008 8:16 PM

Goat manure has a bad smell and the sheep will not pick any where it is.

Run the Sheep in the pasture first the the goat behind them to eat the grabage weeds.

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#21
In reply to #20

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/24/2008 8:30 PM

Sheep manure doesn't smell so great either....

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#22
In reply to #21

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/24/2008 8:44 PM

In Fla. we fenced property then turned in pigs to clean out the rattle snakes then turned in goats to eat the excess folage and get rid of the sand fleas. The smell of goat manure will drive sand fleas out so the builders and workers don't get eat up with fleas or carry them home.

We had some good people quit a couple of projects when their wives kicked them out for bringing sand fleas home.

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#24

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/25/2008 1:18 PM

This is a Jewish Midrashic hinting back to passages in the Prophetic books, such as Ezekiel 36, in which the Lord talks about the leaders and people of Israel in terms of sheep and goats. The way that some animals butt into each other is the way that people who don't care about the helpless are acting. Out in the field, goats are more prone to butt into other animals and people (as have seen personally at family farms). Goats are more willing to go astray and climb up on hills away from the pens. Goats are a bit harder than sheep to shear for the wool. Goats are harder to keep herding and are also more irritating.

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#25

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/25/2008 1:33 PM

A big thank you to all who answered. I still don't have a definitive answer, but think it's one of these three:

grazing;

milking;

sexual

Now I can move on to something else that puzzles me - perhaps rugby (why do they all hug before beating the snot outta one another?)

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#27
In reply to #25

why hugging before?

09/25/2008 1:47 PM

Possibly:

last chance to be civilized, before there are hard feelings. after all, it is not just a game, it is war.

or perhaps it is:

grazing:

milking:

sexual:

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#28
In reply to #25

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/25/2008 1:59 PM

Please be advised that both rugby teams enjoy going together to the pub afterwards for more bonding and drinking!

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#34
In reply to #28

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/29/2008 4:25 PM

When I was in college, the rugby field was beside the physics building and I could watch them instead of paying attention to math. As near as I could tell, there were two gangs, distinguished by different color shirts. They's all get in a big circle and hug. Then they'd all fight for about two minutes. Then they'd all stop and drink beer. Then back to the big circle, and so on. This would last for hours, with the whole lot getting bloodier and drunker as the day wore on. I never actually saw any sort of ball but guessed they might use one if they were sober?

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#35
In reply to #34

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/30/2008 3:41 PM

I think I've heard a similar story before.

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#29
In reply to #25

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/25/2008 4:13 PM

I think in both cases (herding and ruggers) it is mostly territorialism.

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#30

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/27/2008 6:46 PM

A goat is an escape artist.A goat is hard headed,obstinate and spiteful.It is nearly impossible to keep a goat contained in a fenced in area.If he ever learns to escape,you must kill him or he will teach all of the other animals to escape,including, but not limited to,cows,pigs,sheep,etc.

Sheep, on the other hand, are very easy to control, and a minimum of confinement enclosure is sufficient.

I know, I have been there,done that.

I think there is a philosophical parallel here.IMHO

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#32

Re: Why separate sheep from goats?

09/29/2008 1:40 PM

I grew up on a sheep farm (merinos) and definitely no goats.

The 2 are very much the same and can mate. But they are actually miles apart . I think most cross breed are stillborn.

I found this article at Mr wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheep-goat_hybrid

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