This post is an addendum to this post. I was talking about the qualities that I think about and breed for – and I purposely left out the horns. The horns are a major part of what makes a Jacob a Jacob. The horns are what captivate people when they see this breed for the first time. The 4-horned rams are what cause people to slow down and stop to take pictures at our farm.
They also making breeding Jacobs very difficult!!!
I have several layers of evaluation. The first is immediately after they are born. I try to enjoy all of our lambs and not make any decisions for a couple weeks, but it is hard not to have an initial gut reaction – be it good or bad. Sometimes that reaction is right and sometimes it is very wrong.
Reno was one of those lambs, he didn’t do much for me, but look at him now…
he has matured nicely, and more importantly he threw some very nice lambs this year.
Here are two of his daughters. Their horns are coming in very nice. They are both 4-horned.
Here is Florence with her head up and you can see her side horns from this view.
The second evaluation is at a couple weeks. Some of the boys are wethered (neutered) at this time – mostly for lack of or too much color.
The next evaluation is at a month and this is the one that I am the most critical. I really evaluate how much space the horns have and how strong they are coming in.
For example – this boy has great space between his side horns and his top horns. You want to see wool between the horns.
Here is a bad example. See the horns touching each other inside the circle. There isn’t any wool between the horns. The horns will end up fusing together and will become unbalanced. Another indicator that there will be horn problems is the side horn starting to grow upwards. This isn’t always an indicator, but something I look for. This lamb showed a lot of promise and I hate seeing this, but it is part of raising jacobs.
These two lambs are brothers and the horns are looking good so far.
Some people think that nice 2-horned lambs are easy to get, I don’t agree. I am just as critical on the 2-horn lambs as I am on the 4-horn lambs. I love this girl’s horns. See how they are growing out sideways? She is going to have a nice, wide horn set. This is especially important in the boys. They have a lot of mass to their horns and they can start growing into their cheeks.
These girls are sisters – the one on the right has the nicer horns. They are going to be wider than the one on the left.
The horn’s section of the Jacob Sheep Breeder’s Association Breed Standard is quite large and the poor little lambs have such high expectations placed on them!