Francis Lieber.

Library of universal knowledge. A reprint of the last (1880) Edinburgh and London edition of Chambers' encyclopaedia, with copious additions by American editors (Volume 13) online

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origin of the domestic sheep, such, for example, as that which refers it to the moufflon
(q.v.), or that which ascribes different domesticated breeds to different wild originals, as
the moufflon and the argali (q.v.)-

Ail the wild sheep known are natives either of mountainous regions or of dry and
elevated table-lands. They are gregarious, a character which the domesticated sheep
fully retains. They arc p ncrally seen in small flocks, and are not easily approached,
taking refuge in flight, a tharp whistling sound, emitted by one of the rams, serving as
an alarm to the whole flock; although they are very capable of making a vigorous defense
when driven to close combat. A rain of the domestic species is, indeed, able to sustain
a conflict with a bull, taking rrlvantage of his far greater rgility and Lusting against his
joe with his strongly armed forehead. A ram Las been known to throw a bull on the
ground at the first onset, and is always ready to defend himself and his companions
against a dog. Many rams exhibit great pugnacity. Sheep differ from goats in their
mode of fighting. Goats rear themselves on their hind-legs, and throw themselves side-
ways on their adversary, to bring the points of their horns to bear. Sheep rush straight
at each other, a mode which better suits the different style of armature of the head.
Rams of the black-faced variety are especially powerful with their heads, and ofien at
the rutting season kill each other. Their naturally strong skull is considerably protected
in battle by heavy arched horns. A thorough ram fight is a terrifying sight. The two
warriors go backward each some 15 or 20 yards, and then meet each oilier with great
violence, their heads cracking loudly, and their beam-ends rising in response to the
collision of heads. Ewes of this breed fight also. Sheep without horns are not so
pugnacious as the mountain breeds.

All the wild sheep have short wool, with an outer clothing of long and nearly straight
hair. But even the long hair at least on the moufflon has the peculiar character of
wool, in that rouirhness'of surface which gives it the property of felting (see HAIR aud
FELT). One effect of domestication in the common fhecp has been to cause the disap-
pearance of the outer long hair, and to produce instead an increase of the length and
abundance of the wool, an object of great importance to the sheep-farmer. In neglected
breeds of the c<ommon sheep the two kinds of hair or wool are very apparent. In some
tropical climates the sheep loses its abundant fleece, and is covered with hair little longer
than that of the ox.

Although not equal Io goats in their adaptation to rocky steeps, and not endowed
with such power of leapimr from crag to crag, most breeds of sheep exhibit a strong dis-
position to seek their food in places where no animal not very agile and sure-footed
could venture; and those of the domesticated breeds which retain much of their original
wildness are thus adapted to situations in which otherwise the pasture would be of little
value to man. Every one who has seen the lambs frisking on a Highland hill, in a fine
evening, must have admired their nimble movements in places where a herd-boy could
with difficulty scramble. In fine weather sheep ascend the heights; and in cold and
stormy we,ather they repair to the lower grounds. In modern times it has been cus-
tomary to remove the large flocks from mountainous regions to lower grounds to pass
the winter; and in the fall of the year shepherds have difficulty in preventing the ani-
mals from leaving the summer pastures too early if the weather is unfavorable. On the
othcrhaml, if fine spring weather sets in bcfore'the period of removal fnun the winter
quarters, the flocks keep pressing toward the summering regions. .Mountain sheep have
favored spots whither the}' go regularlv over night, and the ewes generally have choice
localities to which they go to lamb. They get much attached to certain pastures, and

4.1 O Shee.


many of thcra have boon known to return stealthily, in the course of a few days, to
their n;uivo or appreciated pastures, though removed some hundreds of mil >.

A very interesung species of the wild sheep is the ROCKY MOUNTAIN, or BIG-
IIoiiN((A nionbimi), of North America. It is equal in si/e to tlie argali. which it much
resembles also in its general appearance, and in the size anil curvature of its horns. The
horns of the. old nuns attain so great a size, and are so much curved downwaid and
forward, that they often effectually prevent the animal from feeding on level ground.
, The abode of this species is in the most craggy and inaccessible parts of the Kooky
1 mountains. The flesh is of the very finest quality. The wool is very tine, and fully an
inch and a half long; it is completely concealed by long hairs. The general color :i
brown, paler on the lower parts; the old rams are almost while in spring. Tin
AOUDAD (0. tragdaphux) isanativeof then, of Africa, inhabiting chiefly the lofty parts o|
the Atlas mountains. It is sometimes called the bearded argali, alihough it has no heard
on the chin; but the throat, the chest, and the front of the forelegs are remarkably
adorned with long shaggy hair. On other parts the hair is comparatively short, with an
underclothing of siiort wool. The color is a uniform reddish-yellow. The tail is longer
than in the other wild species, and is terminated by a kind of tuft of long hairs. lhe
horns are not so large as in the other wild species. In size, the aoudad exceeds the moufflon,
but is not equal to the argali. The French call it moufflon a mvuchettets, or ruffled
moufflon, from the long hair of its forelegs.

The COMMON SHEEP (0. arte?) was probably the first animal domesticated by man.
We are toll in the book of Genesis that Abel was "a keeper of sheep," and that he
brought an offering unto the Lord " of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof."
And from th-it time until the death of Christ, lambs continued to be the most frequent
sacrificial offerings, both among the patriarchs and the Jews. The felting and weaving
of wool were unquestionably among the earliest of tiie arts. The wool was probably at
first pulled from the skin, a rude and even cruel practice, which it is said s;ill subsists
in some countries, and was not very long ago relinquished in the Orkney islands. We
read in Genesis xxxviii. of Ju lah shearing his sheep, and there is abundance of other
evidence that the better mode of obtaining the fleece has been in use from re. note an-
tiquity. The leather made of the skia of the sheep is much employed in bookbinding,
and for making gloves. In patriarchal times, the milk was m.ich u-;ed, as it still is ia
some countries; it is richer than cow's mitt, and the cheese made of it has a sharp tasto
and strong flavor, which, however, are greatly relished by some. In Britain the milk is
now very little used. In some mountainous parts of India the sheep is even r.sed as a
beast of bur Jen, carrying loads of from o.l to 40 pounds, over rough track.;, auJ tip steej
crags, where almost no other animal could be employed.

Those who watch sheep carefully, or keep tncm as pets, find them by no means
devoid of intcM'.gencc. They have, however, a stupid habit of following, without scruple,
the leader of the flock; so tliat, when sheep are being driven across a narrow bridge, or
where a fence separates the road from a precipice, if anything occur to deter them from
proceeding in the proper pith, and one break over the fence or parapet, more of tho
flock may be expected to follow, as has sometimes happened, to their utter d .-si ruction.
Sheep very soon come to know the voice of the shepherd, and also the appearance as
well as the b.irk of the shepherd's dog. Though they stand more in awe of the shep-
herd's voice or commands than of any other human being's, the dogs regularly moving
among them fail to keep them in such subjection as strange one.s do.

The " rutting" is from September till the middle of December, according to the variety
of sheep and tue system of feeding. White-faced modern breeds have tlie tups early
among them, and the hill flocks are liter. The period of gestation is from 20 to 21
weeks. Ewes occupying sown or low-ground pastures lamb in March, while those not so
well provided for tlie mountain sheep do not drop their lambs usually til! April. The
ancient bree Is generally have only one lamb in a season, but modern highly fed varie-
ties frequently have twins, occasionally triplets, but rarely more. Lambs intended to
come early into the market are as of ien as possible dropped in January. Generally lambs
are weaned in July and August. Weaning of breeding or store lambs, however, is a
feature of modern sheep- farming; at one time it was not uncommon to see several
generations persistency following the parent stem. The shearing season ranires from
May 1 till the middle of July, according to the description of sheep, the nature of
I the feeding, etc. Autumn is the most common time for the "dipping." "juicing,"
1 or " smearinu" of the flocks, to kill vermin, prevent skin disease, and preserve and culti-
vate the wool crop.

Tlie great object for which the ancient Britons possessed sheep before the Roman
invasion wa< the production of wool. The demand for butcher-meat has now raised the
value of mutton and lamb so much that the farmer finds it profitable to devote much of
his attention to supply the market with these articles; and those breeds of sheep are
reckoned most valuable which are most suitable for this purpose, even although the
quality of the wool is inferior. When there was no food for sheep but the natural pas-
ture, the animals could not be fattened for the market except during summer, and not
until they had attained an age of three, four, or five years; whereas much of the mutton
now consumed is the flesh of sheep not more than two years old, faiteiung being aided
by turnips, mangold, oil cake, etc.

Sheep. A -l A


The young branches of heath, and in lower situations, the shoots of furze, often serve
as food for sheep, when the supply of grass fails. Sheep delight in short grass and
peculiar herbugo of hill pastures and bare downs; and the mutton produced in such
pastures, and by the breeds most suitable to them, is of superior quality to that of the
large fat sheep fed on richer soils. The latter are also more liable to 'many diseases,
particularly where the ground is at all moist. Aromatic and bitter herbs are particularly
relished by sheep.

The breeds of sheep are very numerous, and very different. The BLACK-FACED
SHEEP of the Highlands of Scotland and of the north of England is perhaps as near the
original type as any existing breed. Both male and female have horns; those of the
ram large, with two or more spiral twists, those of the ewe much smaller, and littla
twisted. The face and legs are not always black. Many are speckled, and some prin-
cipally white. The black-faced sheep is robust, very active, and hardy; enduring the
rigors of a severe winter when sheep of most of the breeds common in Britain would
perish. It survives on little food, and shifts admirably for itself in a snow-storm. The
small quantity, and even inferior quality, of food with which a black-faced sheep will
tide over a snow-storm is most surprising. As an instance of the tenacity of life in
black-faced sheep, under certain circumstances, they have been known to be buried five
weeks under a snow-wreath and come out alive. It has a bright, quick eye, with an
expression very different from that softness which is seen in many of the breeds pre-
ferred for lower grounds and better pastures. The wool is long and coarse, and the
weight of the fleece from 3 to 4 pounds; but the mutton is of the finest quality ; and on this
account, and its hardiness, this breed is preferred to any other in many mountainous
districts and on rough elevated moors. The WELSH SHEEP is much smaller than the
black-faced; both sexes horned; the color various; the mutton highly esteemed; the
fleece seldom weighs 2 pounds. A very little larger breed with big bushy tail, hornless,
or with siiort and little twisted horns, has long existed in the Shetland and Orkney
islands; its wool affording the material for the manufacture of Shetland hose. The
Shetland and Orkney sheep are very hardy, and in winter feed much on seaweed.
Smaller than either of these, and, indeed, remarkably diminutive, is the hornless BRE-
TON SHEEP The FOREST SHEEP of England, so called from being pastured in the
royal forests, has now in most places been supplanted by other breeds. They are still
to be seen on the barren grounds between the British and Brisiol channels; and the
mutton is in much request in the London market. The original forest sheep was geuer
ally small, with fuce and legs russet brown or gray, wild, restless, and ciiilicult to fatten,
but producing wool of line quality. The DCT.SET SHEEP is one of the lest of the old
English upland breeds. Both sexes have small horns. The wool and mutton are of
medium quality; but the ewes are remarkable for their fecundity, and the abundance of
their milk: and this breed is valued as affording a supply of early lamb for the London
market. The RYELAND SHEEP has long existed in Herefordshire and some neighboring
counties of England. It is small, short limbed, white, hornless; produces excellent
mutton; and before the introduction of merino wool, its wool was preferred to every
other kind for the manufacture of the finest broadcloths. The CHEVIOT SHEEP has
existed from time immemorial on (he Cheviot hills, and is now very widely diffused
over a considerable part of England and almost all parts of Scotland, being hardy and well
adapted for high grounds, although it is inferior in hardiness to the black-faced. Chev-
iots, however, rather excel the black-faced both in size and in the value of the fleece; but
require a richer pasture. Ewes are hornless, and the rams almost so. The general fig-
ure is longer than that of the black-faced sheep. Tliey are narrow in shape, with slender
foreq'iarters and long pricked ears. The color is white, the face and legs occasionally
mottled with gray, but generally quite white. The fleece weighs from 3 to 5 pounds.
Great attention has for many years been devoted to the improvement of this breed. The
LEICESTER SHEEP is another of the most valuable breeds. This breed, as it now exists,
is a result of the skill and care of Mr. Bakewell, who, soon after the middle of last cen-
tury, began to make experiments for the improvement of the old Leicester sheep a
large, coarse-boned sheep, not easily fattened, and with coarse long wool, of which,
however, the fleece weighed from 8 to 10 pounds. The new Leicester sheep has wool
moderately long, of better quality, the average weight of the fleece being about 7 or 8
pounds, and is easily rendered very fat. It is naturally very broad on the back, with
finely arched ribs. *The color is white. Both sexes are hornless. The Leicester sheep
is now common in all but the mountainous parts of Britain, and other breeds have been
improved by crossing with it, particularly various breeds of long-wooled sheep, which
have long existed in different parts of England, as those of Lincolnshire, Romney
Marsh, etc. A famous long-wooled breed is that called the COTSWOLD or GLOUCESTER,
the wool of which was in great esteem in the 14lh and 15th centuries, bearing ft higher
price than any other wool. In 1464 Edward IV. sent a present of Cotswold rams to
Henry of Castile; and in 1468 a similar present was sent to John of Aragon. The Cots-
wold breed, however, as it at present exists, has been modified by crossing with the
Leicester, and produces shorter wool and better mutton than in former times. The
SOUTH DOWN SHEEP has recently been improved with the utmost care. The color is
generally white, and the face and legs are generally dun, black, or speckled. Both sexes
arc hornless. The wool is short, very close, and curled. The south down derives its

4.1 a Sheep.

% Sheemz.

origin ami name from the chalky downs of tlie south of England; but is now met with
throughout England and the south of Scotland. The Shropshire sheep are large, with
thick wool something like the south down. They are hornless, and black or dun in the
face and legs. They come early to maturity, bin are suited only for finer climates and
good keep. The Oxford down is a heavy, somewhat soft sheep, without horns, and
capable of rapid and great development under good treatment. It is not suited to very
cold and exposed situations.

The ICELAND SHEEP is remarkable for very frequently having three, four, or five
horns. They are good butchers' animals, being deep and -thick in the carcass, though
rather short in the quarter. The same peculiarity, or monstrosity, as it may be deemed,
is exhibited by the sheep of some of the most northertiparts of Russia. The n. of Africa
possesses a breed of sheep with legs of great length, pendulous ears, and much arched
face; the wool short and curled, except on tiie neck and shoulders, which have a kind
of mane. India has also a hornless breed, with pendulous ears, short tail, and ven' line
much-curled wool. The BROAD-TAILED or FAT-TAILED SHEEP is found in many parti
of Asia, as in Syria, India, and China, also in Barbary, jind is now very abundant in the
colony of the cape of Good Hope. It is rather of small size, with soft and short wool.
Its chief characteristic is the enormous development of the tail, by the accumulation of
a mass of fat on each side, so great that the has been known lo weigh 70 or 80 Ibs.
The tail is highly esteemed as a delicacy, and to protect it from being injured by drag-
ging on the ground, the shepherd sometimes attaches a board to it, pr even a small car-
riage with wheels. The fat of the tail is often used instead of butter. It is less solid
than other fat. The FAT-HUMPED SHEEP of southern Tartary has a similar accumula-
tion of fat on the rump, tailing down in two great masses behind, ami often entirely
concealing the short tail. '1 he ASTRAKHAN or Ik CIIAT.IAN SHEEP has the wool twisted
in spiral curls, and of very fine quality. The Circassian sheep has a remarkably long
tail, covered wilh fine long wool, which trails on the ground. The WALLACHIAN SHEEP,
common in Hungary, as well as in the county from which it derives its name, is dis-
tinguished by the magnitude of its horns, and their direction. They make one great
spiral turn, and then generally rise up from the head to a great height," twisting round as
they rise. The wool is soft, and is concealed by long hair.

SHEEP (ante) were introduced into the American colony of Jamestown, Va., in 1609,
and into New York and Massachusetts about 1625. "Within 40 years the number in the
colonies had increased to 8,000. The breeds generally esteemed the hett in the United
States are the Vermont Brewer and Alwood fleicks; though the French, Saxon, and
Spanish merinos are favorites with some. The Leicester breed is considereel the be<t for
the farmer, being heavy in carcass a?jd full in yield of wool. Southelowns are preferred
for their mutton, and the Cots-wold is highly considered. The total number of sheep in
the United States in 1880 was 40, 765.9007 valued at $80.280,537, the average price being
$2.21. The largest number in any one state was 7,640,800, in California; the smallest
number, in Rhode Island, 28,200. There were 5,148,000 in Texas; 2,205,860 in New
York; 4.080,000 in Ohio. The highest average price was $4.01, in New Jersey; the
lowest, si. 44, in Georgia.

SHEEP-LOUSE . or SHEEP-TICK, or (in Scotland) KAID, Melophrtgiiaorimm.K-n insect of
the family hippoboscida, to which also the forest -fly belongs, ranked in the order diptem,
although 'in this genus the wings are C( mpletely wanting. It Incs among the wool of
sheep, and particularly of lambs, sucking the blood of the animal, iirul is most abundant
in the early part of summer. Where it fixes its head in the skin" a large round tumor is
formed. Its body is very compressed and smooth, of a rusty color, tlie head and thorax
small, the abdomen large. The female does not lay eggs, but, like tlie other Mppolos-
cidce, hatches the egg and nourishes the larva, within her own body, till it passes into the
pupa state, when it is deposited, oval-shaped and shining, fastened to tiie wool of the
sheep. Sheep-farmers use various washes or dips for the destruction of these creatures,
many of which are arsenical. A patent was obtained a few years since for a sheep-dip,
of which carbolic acid is a principal ingredient.

SHEEP'S-HEAD, Sarg'ts or-i*, a fish of the family sparid, plentiful in the latter part
of summer on some parts erf the coast of North America, and highly esteemed for the
table. It sometimes attains a weight of 14 or 15 pounds. A very large fish is sometimes
old in the New York market for" a price equal to four or five pounds sterling. The
fishery i therefore of some importance. Nets are used, and many fish are often taken
at a single haul, which are immediately packed in ice for the market. It is difficult to
take tlie sheep's-head with a line, as its cutting teeth snap the line asunder. The genus
farqn* has cutting front teeth, and round teeth in the back of the mouth. F. rtnuMetii
inhabits the Mediterranean, and has been esteemed for the table from ancient times.
The sart/i feed on shell-fish and the smaller crustaceans, which they easily crush with
their round roeth; partly also on sea weeds.

SHEEP-STEALING, in England, is felony, and is punishable with penal servitude
from three to fourteen years, or imprisonment for two years. In Scotland it is a capital
olfense, though, for some time, it has never been punisheel capitally.



A-t (\

SZEEKKESS', a sen-port and naval arsenal in the co. of Kent, stands on the n.w.
extremity cf lae isle of Sheppey, at tlie confluence of the Thames and Medway. 11 711.
e.n.e. cf Chatham. It consists of tour divisions, Blue-Town, Mile-Toun. Marine-Town,
and Westminster, and of these the first is within the limits of the garrUon. The dock-
yard, much extended and improved within recent years, is now one of the iiiiest in
-Europe. It covers 60 acres, comprising wet and dry docks, immense storehouses, and
olBci.d residences. The harbor is usually crowded with vessels of all descriptions. An
extensive oyster-fishery is -carried on in tne vicinity, from which as many as 50,001) bush-
els of " natives " have beeu sent to London in one season. At Garrison point is the resi-
dence of the port-admiral, the Jelegraph, coast-guard station, and barracks. The chief
(trade is in supplying the requirements of the employees in the various government estab-
lishments, and in the export of corn seeds and oysters. The neighborhood was oace
thought to b-j very unhealthy, but of late years important sanitary works have been car-
ried out, and there are uo\v few towns the population of which enjoy better health.
Since tho provision of direct railway communication with all parts of England the town
is much visited during the summer on account of the excellent sea-bathing there, which
is under the management of a local joint-stock company. The beach and cliffs are a
favorite rescrt for ramblers. Pop. '71, 13,933. Sheerness was captured by the Dutch
under Da Ruyter ia 1337, and here the mutiny of the Nore burst forth in 1708.

SHEZ2B3. The elemental form of a pair of sheers consists in two spars fastened
together near the top. with a pulley at the point of junction, and held by a rope, fastened
to any convenient object, in such a position lhat llu weight lifted hangs nearly between
the spars. This forms an easily improvised crane. An apparatus of this kind, of great
height an 1 stren-rth, i* used for masting vessels. In the principal dock-yards (here are
tall permanent sheers, mounted cilhor on tho sido of a masting-dock or 0:1 a floating sheer-

SIOZ7, on ship-board, ia the rope hy which each of the lower corners of a square-sail,
or the after-corner of a fore-and-aft sail, is held down in order that the sail may be tight-
ened to t'.io wiu.l.

SHEETING, a cloth made of flax or cotton, and used for bed-linen. It is chiefly made
in Ireland in or near Belfast, and in Scotland, The term sheeting is also applied to the
coarse hempcjj cl;>;h used for making tarpaulins (q.v.).

SHEFFIELD, a t. in w. Massachusetts, in Berkshire co. ; pop. '80, township, 2,204,
It is built in a valley 31 m. s. of Pittsfiekl, and 45 m. w. of Springfield. On the w. aro
the Taconic mountains, on the e. the Hoosac range, leaving a valley at this point 4 in. ia

Online LibraryFrancis LieberLibrary of universal knowledge. A reprint of the last (1880) Edinburgh and London edition of Chambers' encyclopaedia, with copious additions by American editors (Volume 13) → online text (page 96 of 203)