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Getting to Know Our Local Sheep

03 Mar 2021 7:43 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

The Local Cloth Spinning Study Group began last September 2020 and each month we get together to spin four local fiber samples (currently on zoom, but.....soon together!).  

Previous blogs have highlighted local fiber farmers, many of whom sell their fibers. 

Our running summary of the activity of the Spinning Study Group can be found at "Spinning Study Group Samples: Sept 2020 - to present"

Jacob sheep

at HobbyKnob Farm (Elizabeth Bell Strub)

Conservation Breed (American Jacob), rare

Ewe and Ram weights:  80-120, 120-180

Fleece Weights: 3-6 pounds

Staple length: 3-7" (HobbyKnob sample: 3.75", 4.3")

Fiber diameters: 25-35 microns (HobbyKnob sample: 27 micron)

Colors: white or lilac with black, brown-black, gray, brown, spots. 

Horns: 2, 4, or occasionally 6

Use: wool

Live Stock Conservancy information on Jacob sheep.

See also The Field Guide to Fleece by Deborah Robson & Carol Ekarius, Storey Pubishing, 2013.

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This photo is taken from the HobbyKnob Facebook page where Elizabeth says "...these little twins are now 2 weeks old ... for those of you that don’t know, the spotting pattern is unique to each sheep, just like your thumbprint"

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Just like all of us, the mature critter looks rather different, and can be very diverse in appearance; see photos and this note from Elizabeth.  

"They can have 2, 4 or more horns. Their spotting pattern is like our fingerprint, specific to every sheep. There is a wide range of acceptable traits for registration but they all must fall within a range of 15-85% color. Also a range of fleece character. Rams specifically cannot be finer than 23.5 micron. And yes, we test if we (the inspectors) believe a ram is too fine and he will fail if he is below 23.5. You will notice in one of the photos a lighter looking ewe, she has a color we refer to as “Lilac”  a dark color with a lavender like hue instead of black/brown. You can tell she is a bit lighter than the others. " Elizabeth Bell Strub

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This light colored Jacob is almost lavender in appearance (probably not adequately seen in the photograph).  

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This is a Jacob ram.  The rams can, amazingly, have different numbers of horns.  This guy has four horns (how must his neck feel at the end of a long day?).  As a scientist, I would find it fascinating to study the development of these horns from embryonic bud to fully developed adult horn and then try to understand the nutrition costs to the animal relative to coat production, for example.  

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This is his fleece seen from the top and parted to show down to the skin.

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Asheville, NC 28801



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