Can you eat ewes?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “can you eat ewe?”. We will also talk about the difference between lamb and mutton and the benefits of eating sheep meat.

Can you eat ewes?

Yes, you can eat ewes, they are mature female sheep that are more than 12 months old. The meat of ewes is called mutton but if the ewes are between 12 to 20 months, it is called yearling mutton.

The meat of ewes is a bit tougher and needs to be tenderised. But it is more flavorful and contains more nutritional value than the lamb.

What are ewes? 

Ewes are the mature female sheep and rams are the mature male sheep, their offspring is called lamb. The ewes are generally 12 months old or more. Ewes are ruminant mammals raised for their meat, milk, wool, and reproducing lambs.

The taste is more intense in the mutton which is sheep’s meat but is not as tender as the lamb.

What is the lamb?

Lamb is the meat of a baby sheep aged between 6 to 10 months. The meat is super tender and flavorful. It is typically used for grilling because of its tenderness.

What is mutton?

Mutton is the meat from mature sheep aged 12 to 20 months. The female is called ewe and the male is called ram. The meat is not so tender and needs to be tenderised by marination or slow cooking.

The meat of mutton is a bit tougher but packs a good flavour and nutrient content as compared with lamb. Mutton is more used for barbecuing and roasting due to its texture.

Which countries farm more sheep?

China produces the most numbers of sheep and lamb followed by Australia, New Zealand, and Turkey. 

Which countries consume more sheep?

China undoubtedly tops the list as it is the major producer of sheep meat as well followed by Mongolia, Turkmenistan, Australia, and New Zealand.

What are the different cuts of lamb?

Lamb is a great source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Depending on the dietary requirements, one can choose which part of lamb to buy and cook since different cuts from different parts of lamb have different fat content.


The lamb shoulder is a lean but tough cut of meat because of the part it comes from. To tenderise the shoulder, it should be slow-cooked on the bone or can be used for stewing or making curries. It is packed with a meaty flavour.

Chop / rack

These cuts are taken from the ribs of lamb. Lamb chops or lamb racks are the most expensive cuts available. The chops are the individual pieces of ribs and if a few chops are cooked without separating them is called a lamb rack.


The loin of lamb is a thin, lean, and tender cut of meat that comes from the waist of the lamb. These are great for grilling. 


The rump is a lean cut that is super tender and full of flavour. It comes from the back of the lamb. It can be pan fried and finished in the oven and served pink in the middle or can be braised by adding lots of flavours.


The leg cut comes from the front legs of the lamb which means they have been worked hard and are lean meat with very minimal fat. The legs can be roasted or barbecued but should be mindful not to overcook as they can be very dry.


The shanks are taken from the lower part of the hind legs and are a super cheap cut of lamb. There is a lot of collagen in the shank which when slow cooked or braised makes the meat soft and melting texture. 

Lamb shanks are a popular dish that goes really well with potato mash and winter greens and of course a glass of red wine. 


The neck can be cooked over the grill or slow-roasted or stewed or curried to get the most out of it. It is a cheap cut of meat but also a great cut too.

Is eating lamb /mutton healthy?

Lamb and mutton are good sources of protein, vitamin B12, iron, magnesium, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients that are beneficial for a healthy body.

But one should always eat sheep or lamb meat in moderation since consuming too much can be detrimental to one’s health. Though lamb meat is packed with all vital nutrients, it also is packed with cholesterol.

Too much cholesterol intake can cause various heart-related ailments. So if you are a heart patient or your cholesterol level is already high, it is necessary to reduce the consumption of lamb and mutton. Though leaner cuts can be eaten in moderation.


In this brief guide, we answered the query, “can you eat ewes?”. We also talked about the difference between lamb and mutton and the benefits of eating sheep meat.

I hope you find this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.