We said on our Facebook Page that today was a big day for Riddlesden Jacobs and it was. Today was our inspection to see whether or not our ewes can be registered in Appendix B of the Jacob Sheep Society (JSS) flock book. In other words – can we register them as pure bred Jacob sheep. Now, we know they are pure bred pedigree sheep but without registration there is no way to prove that! The flock our sheep came from used to be registered but at some point Malcolm stopped registering his lambs so eventually it all lapsed.
We have been going round in circles about whether to try and register or not. We don’t show our sheep and tend not to need to sell at the society sales – we sell the lambs we don’t keep as meat… With possible registration in mind though and to make sure we keep our sheep pure bred we have always bought a registered tup. When we bought Dino we were told that the Appendix system – the system by which an unregistered flock can become registered – was being phased out so we thought what the hell – we don’t have anything to lose and it may be useful to have the proof that our sheep are pure bred, genuine Jacob sheep.
The process started a little while ago with us sending photos of all the ewes to the field
officer. We did that in early October – we sent pictures of all 8 of our breeding ewes and 7 of the 8 were provisionally accepted and could go on to be inspected. Our number 1 black faced ewe was not accepted as she has a slightly forward growing horn. The inspector had a good look at her today, too and said she was very borderline but we saw little point in arguing about her. She’s a lovely little ewe but her horn clearly grows very slightly forward which is not a trait you want in a sheep. It looks a little odd but more importantly it makes them much more difficult to handle if it’s more extreme. While this ewe is really really borderline, some of her lambs have had issues with horns – cute as they were just after birth (as in the picture).
The inspection was scheduled for today.We penned the ewes so they were ready. Our inspector, Gavin, was lovely and took time to learn about our flock and explain what he was looking for and why. Basically he was following the guidelines applied at JSS shows and sales which are based on the breed standard:
- Eyes: Check for split and raised eye lids and reject any sheep showing these faults.
- Mouths: Check mouths are correct in all lambs, shearlings and two-shear sheep. Aged sheep (i.e. three shear or over) which are a little forward on the pad will be passed but this must be announced by the auctioneer when selling. Vendors must adhere to this or sheep will not be allowed to be sold.
- Horns: Any sheep with forward or fused horns in 4-horned sheep or close horns in 2-horned sheep (one fingers width) will be automatically rejected.
- Pasterns: Must be correct in all sheep.
- Testicles: All males of any age must have two testicles of even size and free from abnormalities.
- Udders: If the udder in any ewe has any minor faults like lumps this must be announced by the auctioneer when selling. Vendors must adhere to this or sheep will not be allowed to be sold. Ewes with more serious problems, i.e. lost quarters, will be rejected.
- Blaze: All sheep must have a clear white blaze running from the top of the head to the muzzle.
- The inspectors’ decision will be final.
After checking all the ewes over Gavin agreed that all other 7 ewes were fine and put the JSS eartags in. We have a random number B80 but the others are from B140 – B145. So there we are. Our ewes are now Appendix B or Foundation Ewes. How exciting!