swallow lane

Our Breeding Philosophy

Farm & Fiberworks

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Our philosophy guides the breeding selections we make and the way we manage our flocks.

  • Genetic diversity. Jacobs descend from a small gene pool, so selecting for genetic diversity is essential for the health of the breed. Our current ewe flock is the result of many years of selection and represents the best of many different bloodlines. We select rams based on their compatibility to our flock. This often means locating a hard-to-find genetic outcross and using a ram for only a limited time.
  • Overall animal. Jacobs have many different features and not all animals express every one well. We breed for animals that have a balance of fleece quality, horn strength, marking, and primitive bodies. While we do show to promote the breed, our ideal Jacob is rarely one that is favored by a show-ring judge who is typically looking for modern sheep characteristics.
  • Four horns. One of the unique features of Jacobs is the 4-horned head. While 2-horns are perfectly acceptable and preferred by some, we have worked for many years to produce a strong and balanced 4-horned Jacob. We do keep some 2-horned ewes and produce some very nice 2-horned lambs each year, but our breeding goal is to produce the best 4-horned animal possible.
  • Promoting a viable breed. Jacobs are a threatened breed, but that does not mean that they should all be preserved like an endangered species. Instead, the health of the breed depends on active selection and culling. Far too many inferior Jacobs become breeding stock and perpetuate genetic weaknesses. We only sell breeding stock that is high enough quality that we would use it in our own flock. If we wouldn't breed it, we won't sell it to you.
  • Ethical management. Our animals are managed with care and compassion. We spend the extra time and money necessary to properly feed and house our animals.
    • We will not dump excess animals at auction.
    • No shooters. We sell rams to for breeding to established flocks. We will not participate in "game farm" activities.
    • We care for young and old. We spend extra time, effort, and money to support struggling lambs and feed older animals past their breeding prime.

 



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