Other common names: Jacobs Sheep; Piebald Sheep; Pied Sheep; Spotted Sheep
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
"We got Rachel from a local breeder, and she was the only Jacob in our flock. After only a short time, she quickly became the matriarch of the flock, being always the first to investigate each situation for safety. All of the other sheep followed her along, felt comfortable when she did, got scared after she did. She birthed many mixed-breed lambs with our non-Jacob ram, who we call the "old man," before he became infertile.<br><br>Though we have stopped using her wool, Rachel produced good quality, usable wool, which was a bit of a surprise. Without being sheared regularly, her coat maintains itself quite well compared to our other breed of sheep. It's never gotten in her way or gotten tangled, which has happened with some of our other sheep.<br><br>Over the years, Rachel has had no major health problems, and she has aged quite well. Unlike other older sheep we have had, she has never fallen over and been unable to get back up without help; she's very agile. Rachel was a little rowdy and maybe even slightly aggressive at the start, but over the years has become a very loved member of the family and has grown quite calm. She baas sometimes, but only to let us know when something is wrong. I would imagine that in a more stressful environment or if there were too many sheep around, Rachel might have remained more aggressive. I'm not really sure how she would have acted among a larger flock, though; we currently take care of only about seven sheep, which are all her offspring.<br><br>Rachel is a natural leader, but also very calm, compassionate, and understanding.."
From Troctar Feb 27 2015 8:24PM
"In the main, the British Jacob sheep is larger than its American counterpart. However, there is a Welsh Jacob, which you will find throughout West Wales that is smaller, four-horned (and the horns are smaller too). This may be the result of crossing with Welsh Mountain sheep somewhere in the mists of the past.<br><br>They are typically black and white, but may also show splashes of red colour and the three-colour coat is very beautiful. This is a very hardy breed of sheep that has no problems living and grazing on seaside cliffs. They will also graze on seaweed on the sea shore and these sheep are valued for their meat as the carcass is both sweet and slightly salty.<br><br>Even if not keeping a flock of Jacobs, many farmers have a few Jacobs in their flock as 'guard sheep' a practice that has been going on for centuries. Jacobs are unusual in that their behaviour is more goat like than ovine. They do not flock like other sheep and tend to scatter when herded (which can make dealing with them a bit of a pain). Naturally they are wild an wary.<br><br>However, just like goats they become very tame and used to humans if handled often. Especially so if raised by hand as lambs. Such sheep make excellent pets. Because of their beauty and unusual appearance they are often used as 'show sheep' on smallholdings, in parks and at stately homes.<br><br>Jacobs can even be used as guard sheep around farm buildings and houses. They will bleat when a stranger approaches and may even charge and butt a source of danger (though this is not a particularly common behaviour). <br><br>This is a very lean and hardy breed, with excellent health and hooves that are generally resistant to footrot. Their feet may need trimming if not on rough ground and they need to be shorn in spring. In winter they can be left out all the time, but in summer they do need shelter. This can be a simple lean-to or it can be a large tree.<br><br>The Jacob has spectacular looks and is undoubtedly the most low-maintenance sheep that I have ever owned.<br><br>As a note I have only stated that this sheep is not suitable for children under 8, as it depends on the tameness and handling of these sheep. If frequently handled and kept as pets they are fine. If they are not handled often, then they will be too wild and nervous for small children.."
From DLlE Sep 17 2012 11:01AM