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Fleece Sale 1 Jacobs
25th June 2024

We are Richard and Rachel Oakley and we are the owners of a flock of 20 (retired) Jacob sheep and one Herdwick.

Jacob sheep are believed to have originated from the Mediterranean, referred to as “the Spanish sheep” for most of its recorded history. They have been bred in England for over 350 years, often preferred as ornamental sheep on estates. The Jacob Breed Society was formed in July 1969 by Mary Cavendish, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, who kept a flock at Chatsworth.

 In 2017 the Rare Breeds Survival Trust listed Jacobs on its watch list. They produce a lean carcass with little fat, therefore, other larger, heavier breeds are favoured commercially. They make attentive mothers, producing a set of twin lambs. The lambs are born with tiny little buds, more prominent on the ram lambs, which eventually grow into their distinctive horns. Our flock are two horned, however Jacobs can be four horned. They do not tend to demonstrate a strong flocking behaviour like most breeds and with daily handling make excellent pets.

The fleece of the Jacob  (Piebald) consists of 60% white and 40% black, although the sunlight fades the black so it resembles a more brownish-grey or ‘lilac’. This mix producing a soft greyish lilac when spun into a wool. The fleece is medium to course, although light and springy

Our first four foundation ewes, Baabra, Bumble, Mavis and Rosemary went onto produce many of the girls and four of the boys we still have today. We take pride in the fact that our flock are well cared for and very much loved into their twilight years. Mavis was testament to this, living to a grand old age of 17.

We also purchased a cade lamb, that we called Trevor who still takes charge of the flock that we have at home. Trevor is quite the celebrity, with a following that stretches as far as north Birmingham and beyond. He is a unique character, preferring to walk with us and the dogs and listening intently to your every word!  

It is a fantastic opportunity to be able to donate this year’s wool so that we can see it being used and turned into some wonderful items. We have had to discard the sheared fleeces in the past because of having no outlet. (N.B. One such item Rachel has been experimenting with is the use of fleece as a lining in hanging baskets. Wool retains water effectively, helping to keep plants hydrated, especially beneficial during hot and dry weather. It’s also an eco-friendly alternative to plastic. Rachel will be bringing the linings with her to sell at the show)

We hope you enjoy this weekend and thank you for taking interest in our Jacobs

Richard and Rachel

Trevor, Charlie, Coco, Connie, Clover, Delia, Doreen, Enya, Erin, Ellie, Fliss, Faith, Fluffy, Gemma, Gilly, Gracie, Noah, Gerry, Freeman, Fonz and our little old Herdy Beatrix

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