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Sheep senses


  • Sheep have generally very good vision.
  • The position of the eye allows for wide peripheral vision – with each eye they can span some 145°.
  • Binocular vision is much narrower – 40° wide. They have no vision 2-3cm immediately in front of the nose.
  • After locating a threat in their peripheral vision, they turn to examine it with binocular vision.
  • They have a blind spot at rear around 70° which is wider than the cow and useful when catching sheep.
  • Sheep tracks are never straight as sheep continually turn to watch behind them.
  • They have colour vision but it’s not as well developed as in humans.
  • They often react in fear to novel colours that they’re not used to, eg yellow rain gear
  • Sheep remember flock mates for very long periods (years) after separation.


  • Sheep have a good sense of smell and will not eat mouldy or musty feed.
  • Smell is a major factor in rams locating ewes in heat.
  • Smell is also vital in lamb identification by the dam. Linked to sight recognition.
  • Sheep are very sensitive to predator smells. Feed intake was measured with different predator smells on it. See below:
    • Coyote smell normal intake 8.38kg/head with odour 0.45
    • Fox smell normal intake 8.69kg/head with odour 0.37
    • Cougar smell normal intake 9.32kg/head with odour 0.47


  • Sheep have acute hearing and they can direct their ears to the direction of the sound.

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