There can be a few key differences between ewes and sheep, but at their core they are both mammals of the family Bovidae. Ewes are slightly taller than sheep, have shorter horns and a more pointed face. They also have thicker fur on their tails, shoulders, chest and neck – essential for keeping them warm in wintertime. Sheep are heavier animals than ewes, with rounder bodies and larger heads. Their fleece is typically much finer than that of an ewe’s wool – perfect for use in high-quality fabrics like tweed.
Let’s take a closer look…
First and foremost, always purchase wool that is ethically sourced. This means the wool has been produced without damaging or inflicting harm on the animal or its environment. It is also important to check for certifications such as Fair Trade or organic which will guarantee a higherstandard of ethical production practices.
Next, consider the fiber quality. Single-ply yarns are generally lower in quality than twill-ply yarns due to their rougher texture and shorter staple length. Twill-ply yarns are comprised of several plies twisted together so they have a “waffle” texture, creating a more durable fabric with little pilling. Look for any certifications that show higher levels of fiber content such as American Wool Council (AWC) certification or World Association of WoolProduction Agencies (WAOAPA).
Finally, keep in mind price and scale when choosing wool products. Lighter weight sweaters will be less expensive than heavier ones but won’t typically boast superior craftsmanship or insulation properties; whereas heavyweight coats can be very pricey but will provide greater warmth and protection against weather conditions.
Sheep are able to thrive on low-quality grasses and shrubs (as opposed to cows, which require high-quality forage) making them well suited to New Zealand’s diverse landscape. The country also has significant areas of wolf-, cat-, and deer-free wilderness, ideal habitat for grazing sheep without risk of predation. In addition, domestic sheep don’t compete with native wildlife for food or resources; they instead consume plants that would otherwise die from overgraze
Thank your for reading!