Buying Jacob Sheep
The Official Jacob Sheep Society sales are held at Worcester, St Boswells, Skipton, Llandovery and Melton Mowbray - see 'Diary Dates'. Details of these sales and catalogues can be obtained from the Secretary of the Society - See 'links' page for Secretary details. It is well worth becoming a member of the Jacob Sheep Society as a very informative Journal is produced thrice yearly. It is also essential if you wish to register stock - which must be done to sell sheep as pedigree.
See Nettlebed Sheep for sale on this website - find page under ‘More’ tab..
Jacob Sheep Society Members or potential members located in Lancashire, Yorkshire and counties North to the Scottish Borders can seek advice and help from Northern Area Representative Gavin Haworth, 268 Moorview Road, Skipton, N Yorkshire. Tel 01756799859 Mobile 07813211881
Other auction sales where pedigree Jacobs can be bought in the North of England are Carlisle in September - sheep are not inspected at this sale but most experienced breeders are only too happy to help and give advice. First decide if you prefer the four or two horned variety and perhaps visit a show or a sale or two to just look at the types of sheep.
Four horned Jacobs are very attractive if correct, having lots of style and appearing rather deer- like (sometimes jumping like them too!) It can be more difficult to breed them with horns that are correctly spaced and upright. They also can suffer from split eyelids - a serious fault. That said, there is really nothing more attractive than a good four horner.
Two horned Jacobs tend to have perhaps more substance and a more placid temperament - usually but not always. If only keeping a small flock there tend to be less disappointments when breeding lambs as there is less of a problem getting horns right and I don't believe there is any incidence of split eyelids.
Whichever you decide on, do make sure if the sheep are advertised or said to be, pedigree, that they do have a Society pedigree certificate and corresponding ear tag.
Because I am only able to keep a small number of breeding ewes I usually have two horned sheep to sell during the summer and autumn - please contact me for details. Visitors are welcome - but by appointment please.
Tips for the beginner
These notes are intended to answer the many queries I receive.
Most people, like me, decide to keep Jacob Sheep having acquired land and seen these lovely black and white sheep either at shows or in a field, and think they would adorn their pastures very well. Most will not have kept sheep of any sort before and these notes are for anyone considering keeping them to understand the responsibilities involved.
First of all where to find them? Please don’t rush out and buy the first you see advertised in your local newspaper without first visiting as many shows, Jacob sales, Open days and local breeders as possible. Most importantly, if you are really committed to owning Jacobs, join the Society – which has most helpful members, all of whose sheep if registered will have pedigrees. If you buy unregistered sheep their offspring cannot be sold as pedigree Jacob sheep and will not realise the same sale prices. Talk to the breeders and buy healthy well-grown sheep – they will be far less trouble than falling for some under developed lamb with a pretty face!
LAND - firstly, have you sufficient? I know sheep have been kept on very small areas by experienced sheep keepers with large indoor facilities, but generally it is better to start with too few sheep than too many, and of course sheep must ALWAYS have company . I would say much less than three acres would be very difficult, particularly if no building available for winter housing. Perhaps four or five ewes or ewe lambs. Good fencing is a must for all sheep but Jacobs in particular, and guard any trees as they are regarded as a delicacy!
Shelter, indoors if possible, is necessary in winter with our very wet climate (here in the North-West anyway). I sleep better if I know my sheep can get in out of the driving rain, but I know this is not essential unless the ewes have lambs.
AFTER PURCHASE – sheep are very much creatures of habit and being of the more intelligent variety of sheep, I think many Jacobs suffer a certain amount of stress when moved to strange surroundings, and do sometimes take a while to settle down. If treated kindly, once they learn who the food comes from and they understand what is required of them they are easy. I NEVER attempt to drive my sheep, but they’ll follow a bucket anywhere, and even without food soon know the way to a different field after they’ve been there once.
FEED – various types are available; I feed a sheep coarse mix in troughs or bowls and I do feed year round – in very small quantities in summer to adults in order to be able to check daily for lameness, and that all sheep are well, the first sign of illness is disinterest in feed. The lambs are fed plenty of special lamb feed in an area inaccessible to the ewes (in theory anyway!) Yellow ‘rocky’ salt licks are always available, and of course plenty of clean water.
PENNING – some form of catching arrangement is necessary – if a small area can be arranged on a hard yard and the sheep can be fed there they can be caught without stress. A hand under their chin will halt them. All my sheep are trained to tie up with a halter (cheap adjustable cotton webbing halters are available from www.peasridge.co.uk ), which makes it simpler to hold them single-handed for foot-trimming etc. I don’t turn them over to trim feet but lift the feet individually. Any cases of lameness (mostly occur when the ground is muddy) are dealt with IMMEDIATELY. An antibiotic spray obtained from your Vet will cure most foot problems providing the foot is dealt with as soon as lameness is observed. In summer watch out for fly-strike – spraying with CLIK keeps the pests at bay for a number of weeks. ‘Spot-on’ for sheep is necessary in land where ticks are a problem – usually where deer roam. The other hazard to watch out for is a sheep with head caught in sheep netting – they always fancy the hedge on the other side. Doesn’t happen often but once caught their horns prevent escape without help.
Other regular treatments are worming and Heptovac-p injections (yes, you will need to learn how to inject, both subcutaneously and intramuscularly, not really too difficult).
Lambing, ram keeping are other subjects which I’ll try to address later.
I hope these notes haven’t deterred you from keeping sheep – but it is better to be aware that good management is essential with livestock and that sheep cannot be regarded as ‘lawn-mowers’ that don’t need petrol! Nor can you disappear for your annual two weeks abroad without a friend to check the sheep daily. However, the rewards are endless – Jacobs are such characters, all individuals. They will certainly give you much pleasure whether you keep them to show, breed from or merely to admire in your fields.
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