Sheep x goat?

Asked April 18, 2013, 12:29 AM EDT

My neighbors have what look like Barbados sheep. They say they are a cross between a sheep and a goat. And got a saanen alpine buck to breed them? How is that possible. Aren't they more different than a horse and a donkey? Have you ever heard of such a cross being successful?

Josephine County Oregon

1 Response

Sheep and Goats are of two distinct Genus and species. Sheep are Ovis Aries and goats are Capra Hercus,and have different numbers of chromosomes and many genetic disimilarities to go along with their several similarities. Because of this, if they happen to breed or are artificially bred, the hybrids (offspring) are almost always infertile. It is very, very rare to have fertility in these offspring. The sheep your neighbor has are most probably "sheep" and breeding them to a "goat" would yield predominantly infertile offspring. Horses and donkeys share the same Genus (Equus) so are more genetically similar than are sheep and goats. However, there are still fertility issues with these Equus crosses.