After we got some chickens and were able to keep those for a few years, we thought we should get something BIGGER. We thought about it for a long time, and ultimately after my husband finding Jacob sheep, we decided to check into them further.
Jacob sheep are listed on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy as being "threatened".
This, about Jacob Sheep, comes directly from the JSBA (Jacob Sheep Breeders Association) web site:
Jacob Sheep have graced the large estates and country homes of England for many centuries. Their impressive horns, black and white faces and spotted bodies have no doubt contributed to their popularity and survival.You can find more out about Jacobs on the JSBA website HERE.
Their actual origins are not known. However, documentation throughout history indicates that the spotted or pied sheep may have originated in what is now Syria some three thousand years ago. Pictorial evidence traces movement of these sheep through North Africa, Sicily, Spain and on to England.
There are many romantic stories about the Jacob Sheep being direct descendants of the flock of sheep acquired by Jacob during the time he worked for his father-in-law as mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 30), or that they were washed ashore from shipwrecks during the attempted invasion of the Spanish Armada during the reign of Elizabeth I.
One thing that drew us to the Jacob sheep are not only conserving something that is a heritage breed animals, BUT that these very animals could be directly related to those of Jacob from the Bible! How awesome!
When we went to a far about 2 hours away, and looked at our first Jacob sheep, I was in awe. I loved how they looked, sounded, everything... After a little while of debate, we had chosen 2 females and a male. You can see our first posting of getting our sheep HERE and HERE.
Jacobs are GREAT for wool, you shear them once a year, and they can produce tight curly wool or wavier wool. I cannot wait to have the wool that we cut this Spring spun into wool! In about a year's time, the wool will get about 4-6 inches long! Jacobs are a "dual purpose" breed though, and you can raise them for meat and wool.
These heritage breed are also great for "pasture" farms. If you have pasture, these guys will help take it down in no time. They LOVE grass. They LOVE Fall leaves. They also eat hay around here in the Winter time. They also LOVE grain, which I don't feed them, EXCEPT to bribe them into one pasture or another, or to eat their "wormer". But when you let them out of their pen, or pasture area, they seem to KNOW where the bags of corn are, and they WILL make themselves piggies over it.
I have enjoyed watching these precious babies be born, my first livestock animal! I have seen at different points in the "birthing" process, but with my sheep, I saw the WHOLE thing! It was a joy to be a part of.
This Charlie. His Parents are Sweetgrass Myst and Sweetgrass Puck. He has tight curly wool.
This is Charlotte. She is a 3 horned (because 2 of her horns have fused together. Her mom is Lindsay (pictured behind her) and Sweetgrass Drummond (not on our farm).
Starting in October, we will try letting nature take it's course, and see if we can get some babies in the Spring! Puck (pictured above) will be "married to" Lindsay and Myst. Then hopefully we can get at least 3 more babies by April!
Jacobs have truly been fun and a JOY to raise. I will continue raising them as long as I can!
Do you own any heritage breed animals, or any animals on the ALBC list? Have you considered it? What kind are you considering?