What is the difference between goat and ram?
The animal kingdom is full of fascinating creatures. There are several species of animals that stir our curiosity and fascination. Some of them have even been the inspiration for lots of fascinating stories by people around the world.
Everyone knows that goats are good. They make us laugh, they let us ride them, and they taste delicious when roasted over an open flame. But how are they different from other hoofed animals like a ram? What specific qualities differentiate a goat from a ram? And why does it matter anyway? If you’re the type of person who likes to know the facts about these things, then you’ve come to the right place.
What is a Goat?
A goat is a small ruminant mammal that belongs to the genus Capra. They are commonly known for their ability to climb steep slopes and arched-back horns.
On average, a goat is 1.5 to 3 feet tall and weighs anywhere between 45 to 300 pounds. On average, a goat can live up to 15 to 18 years. The mountain goat can grow up to 5 feet tall and weigh between 130 to 300 pounds.
When people think of a goat, they typically picture a house goat or family pet. Goats have been domesticated since 1620 B.C. when the Egyptians started to breed them. Today people spend thousands of dollars breeding goats to obtain their hair for use with the production of materials such as high-end rugs and clothing, musk for perfumes, and cheese for essential nutrients.
Goats are amazing animals. They are hardy and better at adapting to their environment over long periods than most other species. They are also very willing to eat just about any plant or vegetation in the wild – which is good news for us because they’ll eat nearly anything living, dead, or decaying.
What is a Ram?
The term ram is used to refer to male sheep that are distinguished by their large curled horns and considerably hairy legs that are covered with thick wool. Both sheep and goats are derived from the wild species known as Ovis Aries, which are commonly found in the Middle East. The domestication of these docile animals is generally credited to the Boncuklu people of Turkey, between 10,000 and 8,000 years ago.
Rams are bigger and heavier than female sheep, and they tend to be bulkier because of the thick wooly fur they have. They weigh up to 300 pounds, and their body height usually ranges from 5 up to 6 feet.
In the past, rams were used in wars and as weapons because of their strong bodies and horns. There is a standardized world record for the heaviest ram by the name Big Jake who weighs up to 570 kgs.
Also Read: Difference Between Lamb and Sheep
Goat VS Ram: Difference Between Goat and Ram
Size and weight (Goat vs Ram)
Goats and rams are both animals that belong to the genus Capra. Goats generally weigh between 45 and 300 pounds, while rams are usually bigger, sometimes up to 300 pounds. A goat can grow to be anywhere between 1.5 and 3 feet tall. Rams, on the other hand, are male sheep or goats with a height of 5 to 6 feet. Rams tend to be heavier and larger than goats, and their thick wooly coats make them bulkier.
Habitat (Goat vs Ram)
Goats also have a higher tolerance for heat as compared to ram, which is why you will often see goats in tropical climates and mountainous regions. Ram tend to suffer in these conditions as they need a cool environment with plenty of water and shade to survive in the summer months. However, during winters when temperatures fall below freezing point, ram survive better than goats due to the wool that protects them from harsh weather conditions. Rams are native to America while goats are probably native to Asia.
Habits (Goat vs Ram)
The ram generally do better if they are kept in a herd. They will not stray far from the others if at all possible. They seem to be content to stay with the herd even if it means less food or water for them. On the other hand, goats have a natural sense of balance so they can climb on steep hills, walk on narrow ridges, or jump over obstacles that may scare off other animals. They don’t usually panic under such circumstances unlike the ram.
Unlike ram, individual goats are able to make their own decisions, they do not follow the herd mentality and they can remember things for a long period of time. This is why training a goat is much easier than training sheep.
Goat have a greater sense of curiosity than ram, which makes them more independent and strong-willed. They can be difficult to manage because of their demanding nature.
Rams, on the other hand, are sheep with or without horns that usually stay in groups or flocks. They do not display much curiosity as goats but are more social than goats.
Rams are not as active as goats, but they also display aggressive behavior when they feel threatened while defending their territory or family members.
Goats have strong territorial instincts and prefer to live in pairs or in small groups. Their social structure is such that they have an alpha male leader and other members of the herd follow him. The leader leads the herd while searching for food and water. However, this leadership is not permanent as the leader may be challenged by another member of the herd when they become bigger than him.
Horn (Goat vs Ram)
Both goats and rams are horned mammals. Compared to the horns of a ram, goat horns are much smaller, thinner, and point forward rather than curl along the sides of their heads. Some goats have no horn growth at all.
Rams are male sheep with massive curled horns that grow along the sides of their heads from their second year on. A ram’s horns can weigh up to 30 pounds, with the largest horn measuring more than four feet in length. However, some rams have only one horn. Goats have a narrower set of horns that curve upward. Their horns are more like those of antelopes than sheep.
Rams typically develop their horns between 1 and 3 years of age. The older the ram, the larger his horns will grow. The only exception to this rule is Texas Dall sheep, who lose their horns once a year during the fall and winter months.
As for where the horns come from, they form in the same way hair and fingernails do. Rams use their horns to fight with other rams during mating season or if they feel threatened. They lock heads together like deer or elk do when fighting over territory or females.
Mating (Goat vs Ram)
A ram is more likely to mate with a goat than the other way around. However, both rams and goats have a strong sexual interest. The male goats may attempt to mate with sheep, but since the ovulation period for female sheep does not match with the estrous cycle of male goats, it is unlikely that you will find a healthy baby from those marriages.
Ram’s mate with ewes, or female sheep. Rams have very large horns that they use to fight off other rams. Female sheep will only mate with some of the males in a herd. The males that do not mate form bachelor herds until they reach maturity.
Goats and ram belong to the same genus, Capra, and can interbreed. When a female goat mate with a male sheep, the offspring is called a “geep.” This animal will have the body of a sheep but the head of a goat. A female geep may also be infertile, but if she can reproduce, her offspring will be healthy. A “shoat” is created when a female sheep mates with a male goat. This animal is usually infertile, however.
Diet (Goat vs Ram)
Because goats are primarily browsers, they thrive on bushes, tree leaves, and shrubs. They are particular about what they consume and enjoy. They don’t eat anything they discover, which is why they’re called browsers because they graze slowly. Goats also enjoy rough and gritty diet, such as hay or grasses, which are also utilized as cattle or other livestock fodder.
Rams, on the other hand, are grazers and like to graze on short, fragile grasses near the ground. This is due to their lack of sharp teeth, which prevent them from chewing on leaves or difficult foods like bushes and shrubs.
Diseases (Goat vs Ram)
Goats and sheep are very vulnerable to footrot caused by a bacteria known as Fusobacterium aucois. The disease is caused by parasites whose eggs are present in the soil. These parasites get into hoofs when the animals walk barefoot, causing them to fall ill. Animals that are affected by foot rot become lethargic and refuse to put any weight on their feet. At the same time, it can happen that a ewe will pass the organisms to her lamb through milk. Infection can spread easily through contaminated boots and clothing, pasture, etc. Pregnant animals contract this disease.
Breeding season (Goat vs Ram)
The breeding season is your opportunity to get the animals pregnant and have a baby. All animals have a breeding season, and goats are no different, although their breeding season is typically shorter than others.
The breeding season for most goat or sheep owners is between August and October, which is when the best reproductive results are achieved. Rams or Goats do go into breeding season in May and June, but they usually don’t produce as many offspring as they will during their Fall breeding season.
When you own goats, it’s important to understand the difference between a ram and a goat. It’s important to know what to expect when a goat is on heat so you can then choose whether or not you will breed that goat. It’s also important to know how long gestation will last, the different care needs of pregnant goats, and how the delivery process goes. You should already have a good grasp of nutrition for your herd before starting any breeding program.
Key Difference Between Goat and Ram: Goat vs Ram
So, now you know the difference between goat and ram —by appearance and genetics. Knowledge of the difference can be useful when breeding rams with goats, but even the most experienced farmers will sometimes mix them up during calving season. When you distinguish one from another, you’ll know what to expect when trying to raise offspring from a cross between them.
Through breeding, humans have been able to produce a lot of the specific type of meat that they desire. Whether it is the amount of fat or tenderness that is desirable, both rams and goats have been used to breed for certain qualities in domestic meat production.
All in all, it would seem that the ram’s primary appeal is aesthetic, while the goat’s appeal is practical. While the difference between goat and ram may not have a direct impact on your life, it’s still interesting to know about considering the wide variety of goats and rams that exist, ranging from their appearances all the way down to their eating habits.
Infographic on Difference Between Goat and Ram: Goat vs Ram
- References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goat
- References: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/immunology-and-microbiology/ram-sheep
- References: Photo by Anna Perkas from Pexels
- References: Photo by Trace Hudson from Pexels