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
Leader of our flock
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.
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.
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.
Rachel is a natural leader, but also very calm, compassionate, and understanding..
From Troctar Feb 27 2015 8:24PM
Best to prevent and Needed to Treat
Regular hoof trimming is important in the health of your sheep and can help reduce foot rot occurrence. Irregular hoofs can keep in mud/dirt and abnormal gaits that can help promote infection. Additionally, once foot rot occurs, trimming off disease portions of the hoof can help speed recovery, but must be combined with antibiotic treatment. By itself, hoof trimming is effective in treatment and along with other management practices is not the only thing needed to prevent the condition. .
From drkirkley 326 days ago