Jacob Sheep

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Other common names: Jacobs Sheep; Piebald Sheep; Pied Sheep; Spotted Sheep

The basics:
The Jacob Sheep is a multihorned sheep, patterned with black and white spots. According to the American Jacob Sheep Registry, "The Jacob is an old British breed. It is documented that such sheep existed in England about 400 years ago, but the exact details of origin are lost in time. It is probable the 4-horned characteristic derives from Viking animal ancestry."

As of 2009, Jacobs are listed as threatened by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, which means the breed has "fewer than 1,000 annual registrations in the US and estimated fewer than 5,000 global population." However, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in the UK do not view it as being at risk as there are in excess of 3,000 registered breeding females.

Appearance / health:
Jacob sheep have multi-colored fleeces and are always horned. It is preferred that the horns be an even number, and well-balanced; but many other horn numbers and patterns are possible and acceptable.

One of the most common ailments among sheep is a viral skin disease called soremouth or “orf.” Ringworm or “club lamb fungus” is a rash also common among sheep. And much like “mad cow disease,” sheep can have a similar neurological ailment called “scrapie.” Sheep health issues should be addressed by a qualified veterinarian. Good health is promoted by sanitary habitat conditions and proper nutrition.

Housing / diet:
Sheep are grazing animals and do well living their entire lives outdoors. They get sufficient exercise and fresh air out in the field. They do need shelter from bad storms and unusually hot days. Many sheep keepers install field structures to provide shade, for example, hutches, domes, carports, and makeshift sheds. A common shade structure is a hoop house, like an open hangar or a greenhouse, which has a metal arched frame covered with tarp or other heavy-duty fabric.

Some sheep owners keep their flock in a barn or similar enclosure to protect them from predators. These enclosures must have very good ventilation because moisture and poor air conditions lead to the sheep’s poor health.

For warmth and comfort, bedding material should be provided. The best bedding is absorbent, clean, and dry. Some options are straw, wood shaving, sawdust, corncobs, dried corn stalks, peat, hemp, paper, and alfalfa hay. Preference is determined by cost, availability, convenience, and type of sheep. Wool sheep will not appreciate sawdust because it gets in their fleece. Paper is highly absorbent but difficult to manage in the field.

Lambs start with their mother’s milk and a light diet of pasture grass at two weeks old. After weaning the lambs from ewe’s milk at six weeks old, they can start eating dry feed of grains (wheat, oats, barley, cottonseed, corn), soybean and peanut hulls, and hay. The main diet of sheep is fresh grass and other forage and pasture vegetation. The pasture must be fertile and large enough to support the grazing of sheep for about seven hours a day (morning and afternoon). Fresh water must be constantly available, especially during the warm months and if the diet is mostly dry hay. Supplements are recommended, and must be given in the middle of the day to balance the sheep’s food intake.


hobby sheep keeper, hardy breed, excellent mothers, fourhorners, docile creatures, showy


eyelid, wild state, commercial sheep


mild tasting, British Jacob sheep, good trophy, higher prices, multiple horns, goatlike personalities

Helpful Jacob Sheep Review

Jacob Sheep

From Troctar Feb 27 2015 8:24PM


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