Centuries old Jacob sheep have become the latest addition to Willows Edge Farm. Our desire as a small heritage farm is to protect those species and breeds worthy of protection. These guys fit that statement exactly.
The Jacob sheep were once considered Park sheep (much like our Irish
Dexter cattle were considered Estate cattle) for the rich in
Europe. It had to do with their compact size and lightweight
footprint and not destroying the precious property that they graze on.
Strong and sturdy and yet a just a little smaller than the more commercial breeds of today. Yet with this smaller size comes a bounty of top quality fiber as well as a higher yield on the carcass.
While no one is quite certain how old the breed is, or where Jacob sheep originated, theories abound. However, it is well documented that Jacob sheep (a.k.a piebald or spotted sheep) existed in England about 400 years ago.
On top of their very desirable "sheep traits", just look at them! Let's face it - we find them absolutely adorable as baby lambs and as they grow, they are also given the nick-name, Jacob 4 Horn Sheep, as some will grow 4 or sometimes even SIX horns! Both male & female are horned, while the male certain to grow more impressive horns. Ewes weigh between 80-120 pounds and rams 120-180 pounds. They are white with colored spots or patches which are typically black but can also be a brownish color, which is called "lilac" in the breed. Very unique animals for certain.
They also have amazing feece qualities. Their fiber as well as pelts are known for their amazing loft & spin. The breed produces a medium fleece that is light and open, with a staple length of four to six inches and a weight of three to six pounds. Unlike most other medium wool breeds, quality of the fleece has been a major selection factor in the recent history of the Jacob breed. As a result, it is much sought after by fiber artisans, who enjoy its characteristics and color combinations – black, white, or a blend of the two. If you are interested in raw wool, please contact us to be put on the waiting list for spring shearing.
And taste! Let's face it, many people around the globe raise sheep as a quality food source. Heritage breeds have made a come back because so many Americans have decided that, while their food may look like ... (add your meat here - beef, pork, lamb...), it certainly doesn't taste like it anymore. One reason is the industrialization of the livestock, but another part of it is the breeds. They do make a difference!
Willows Edge Farm is proud to have become the first Jacob sheep breeder in the state of Idaho! We have careful, hand selected sheep from around the country to create a quality herd. Much like we did when we selected our amazing Norwegian Fjord horses! If you are interested in having your name on one of our lambs or fiber for 2014, please send us a note today. We'll add your name to our waiting list.
We have large plans to create a herd worthy of their heritage and breeding and at the same time, make sure they get the special Willows Edge Farm personality training. We are sticklers for having friendly animals that tolerate all sorts of personalities.
In the meantime, keep checking back to this page (as well as our Facebook page) for more photos and updates!