Breeding Sheep

This week we put our sheep into breeding groups.  As new shepherds, it was challenging to decide which ram to put with each ewe but it was fun to matchmake all the while imagining what their little lambs would look like in the spring.

Twinkle & Precious with Hawthorn

Of course, we spent the year setting up our flock to be self-sustaining for years to come.  To do this, we brought in sheep with different bloodlines for diversity.  At the same time, we made choices according to what we liked in the Jacobs to develop our own look within the breed.  That's one of the great things about Jacob Sheep.  Unlike other breeds, you can emphasis traits that you like and over time your flock has it's own look.  After studying other flocks, you may come across a picture of a sheep and be able to identify where you think it came from.  I know, you really have to like sheep to do that!  And yes, I've become one of those sheep people. 

Ralene & Callie with the very attentive Dazs
Each ram has his own strengths and weaknesses (except for one which I think is just about perfect).  Placing the rams with ewes that balance those traits are important.  But there was one other thing we had in mind for our flock.

McCarthy with Pistache

  Having the only registered flock of Jacobs in Oklahoma at present and living so far from any other breeders, we felt it was important to establish "parallel flocks".  This is encouraged by the American Livestock Breed Conservancy and is done by breeding multiple lines and crossing them every few years.  Keeping the sheep bloodlines several generations apart is important if you want to maintain a closed group and not have to bring in new blood every year of two. 

Auburn is with Ziggy & Flora
Anyway, we have put a lot of time and thought into our flock.  It's kind of become a passion.  You couldn't tell, could you? ;) 

The ewe lambs are learning to be big without the older girls

We find ourselves watching and waiting...
 for sniffing, flirting, tail flagging, mounting. 
And we are looking forward to spring and the little lambs that will arrive.

"You want me to do what?"

 "Be fruitful and increase in number..."
Genesis 1:28