Back when I first “inherited” my original flock of Jacobs (before I even knew what the breed name was), my original intentions were just to raise meat animals. Actually, that was my husband’s intentions… I wanted nothing to do with sheep anymore. I was fried, burnt out, from raising sheep for 4H. Granted, those were Suffolk, and these are Jacob but back then a sheep was a sheep.
We bought our first ram from my good friend Shannon (who has become my good friend, because of that purchase) with zero intentions but to breed for meat – we didn’t care about breed standards, color pattern, horns, and fleece. Of course, with the purchase of Douglas, a papered ram, I started doing my online studying and found that the Jacob breed was nothing short of awesome and they perked my interest and soon took over as a passion. I started looking at my flock in a new light, one that saw all the flaws according to the Jacob Sheep Breeder’s Association’s guidelines and standard of perfection. Soon I was shopping for rams that would bring me better horns, then that went to color pattern, and then the more I learned about fleece the more I wanted that to integrate in to my flock. Since the purchase of Douglas, I have bought six more rams (I think that number is accurate… I’ve lost count) from Shannon each with a different goal in mind and the last three being the “prime” to enhance what I’ve got.
With Raider, came great fleeces. I have had him now for four years and he has really produced lovely fleeces, but he is black and white and only throws black and white (being the dominant gene). How was I going to get Raider’s fleece, but in the lilac coloration (recessive gene)? So I went on to select Raider daughters whom I could keep, ones that would carry on what I liked. From there, I picked out ones whose dams were lilac, then bred those lilac carrying daughters to a lilac or lilac carrying ram i.e. Prescott who was black and white himself, but threw the recessive lilac gene. Above, is what I hoped to achieve.
“Selene” is a beautifully marked lilac ewe lamb who is out of a Raider daughter (one of my favorite ewes), Sarah Jane. When Selene was a lamb she only caught my eye because she was a lilac, but that was it. She was just one of those lambs that sincerely got over-looked and was never added to my “keepers list.” Thankfully, Selene never sold, so that I could see what she developed in to. I’m really excited to get a lovely lilac fleece, nice and open, beautiful wide crimp, and a long staple length. Just what Raider produces, but so far, only in black and white. Now I’ve got it in lilac.
I think Selene is pretty proud to be discovered as well. She always did think pretty highly of herself (looking back on lamb photos), and so did her mama. Now I do too! It sure is nice to see Breeding Goals coming to fruition.
Selene as a lamb, with her mama, Sarah Jane.