Welcome to Hobbyknob Farm Blog!

I look forward to introducing you to the wonderful world of sheep, chickens, llamas, nigerian dwarf dairy goats and sebastopol geese. And any other little critters that happen to show up or live around here. Livestock keep us connected to our agricultural history, the land and the cycle of life.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Jacob Sheep-raise a conservation breed

JACOB SHEEP-hardy, excellent mothers, thrive on forage, talkative, interesting personalities, reasonable size, good meat at any age, on the ALBC conservation list, lovely wool, unusual markings. All words I use to describe this incredible breed of sheep. They have a long history but for this blog you just need to know that they are a conservation breed. There is great information through the Jacob Sheep Breeders (http://www.jsba.org/) and the Jacob Sheep Conservancy and the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. As our agricultural system turned to only the breeds of sheep that could fatten up nicely on corn or fast enough to go to market to make a profit, other breeds of sheep were left behind and numbers dwindled. Not a good idea if we want to keep a good supply of genetics out there in case there is some type of disaster. Luckily, there were people out there that didn't agree with this system and are working to keep many breeds alive. If you have a few acres and want to keep the grass down and feed your family and maybe some friends, breeds like the Jacob fit the bill. Although I would never not worm, these sheep seem to have the best immunity when it comes to parasites. I know because sometimes I can't catch them all when it is time to check eyes and they have to go longer. So far, so good and been at it 10 years! Jacob sheep are extrememtly aware of when something is up. They know NOT to come into the stall even though there might be some tasty grain in there. They know NOT to come in when the strange truck and the stranger shows up (the shearer) All these tasks have to be taken on with planning on my part. Jacob sheep will even challenge dogs. BUT, this is what makes these sheep fun and interesting. Definately not dumb! Stuborn maybe, not dumb. So the sheep in the picture are now in the maternity ward. I expect these 2 to lamb within the next 2 weeks. Watching these sheep mother their lambs is a true experience. They often lamb in the pasture, usually without trouble and immediately clean the lambs. Each mom makes a unique sound and they start as they are cleaning the lambs.They are fiercely protective of their young. Moreso than my other breeds. And the lambs are the cutest babies you will ever see!