Don’t Get Fleeced! Know Your Sheep Facts


With Sheep-to-Shawl coming to Philipsburg Manor, it’s the perfect time to brush up on some sheep trivia.

Sheep smarts: Sheep are extremely intelligent animals. Their IQ level is similar to cattle, and they are almost as smart as pigs. They are capable of solving problems—they can remember how to find their way through a maze or how to find a treat in a puzzle.

Group mentality: Sheep are by nature gregarious and like to be in a group (known as a flock or a mob).

I know you! Flock members take care of each other, and can recognize each other’s faces even after being separated for years. They can recognize human faces as well.

Ancient craft: Man has been spinning wool since 3500 B.C.

80 miles of yarn: An average sheep yields 8 pounds of wool each season. One pound of wooSupernatural miles of yarn, so that’s 80 miles of yarn per sheep.

Supernatural fiber: Wool is biodegradable, it’s a natural insulator, and is resistant to mildew, mold, and fire.

Who’s counting? There are over 1 billion sheep in the world today.

First (ovine) settlers: The first sheep in the New World arrived with Christopher Columbus in 1493.

Revolutionary spinners: Early Americans bristled under English laws discouraging the wool industry in the colonies. The resentment was so great that before the Revolution, spinning and weaving were considered to be acts of patriotism.

Early entrepreneurs: The term spinster came about because spinning wool was one way for unmarried Colonial women to earn money.

Wooly coats: Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both kept sheep and were inaugurated in wool jackets.