Riddlesden Jacobs

A site about a West Yorkshire flock of Jacob Sheep

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A Ram Lamb called Gravy

There once was a lamb called Gravy…. and there still is. Although by all accounts there shouldn’t be. This is his story.

Gravy was born on 6th April 2015 as one of triplets. He was tiny, really tiny and when they were born we looked at each other with that knowing look. ‘He won’t make it’ we thought. But he survived and him and his 2 sisters were soon out in the field with their mum, who couldn’t really count. She often forgot about Gravy and Gravy often wandered off. He wasn’t really getting bigger. ‘He won’t make it’ we thought. But he did.


Triplet ram

Eventually Gravy even grew a little. Just a little mind. Then he put all of his effort into growing his horns, because a small little ram needs BIG horns, obviously. That’s not all he grew. As spring turned into summer, Gravy tried hard to grow in size and catch up with the other ram lambs born that year but it didn’t really work, he stayed smaller than most of the ewe lambs. When we moved all the ram lambs out and away from the ewes he bore the brunt of the others’ frustrations. Easy to pick on the little one. The boys grew nicely, Gravy didn’t.

Then just before Christmas we got a call, a call no sheep owner wants to get. Kath’s mum had been looking for Gravy for over an hour. He wasn’t in the field with the others and she couldn’t find him anywhere. There was wool though, a big chunk of it. We raced on and eventually found Gravy, he was nearly dead in a stream with awful wounds to his back leg. We wrote about the dog attack here. We looked at each other, the same look we’d given each other when he was born. ‘He’s not going to make it’ we thought. But he did. We wrote a little about his recovery here.

Brough and Triplet 2

Once fully recovered Gravy put more effort into growing his horns and his testicles. Nothing else grew much at all. As we stood watching over the gate one evening Kath remarked ‘Don’t think we’d even get gravy off that triplet’ and that’s how Gravy got his name. His ‘brothers’ went away to be turned into chops but Gravy wasn’t even worth the gravy we might have got. He was however invincible. He squared up to Brough, his Dad and would not be bullied off food. He thought he was top dog even when one of Brough’s nudges made him fly ten feet through the air. Gravy was a superhero.

Gravy’s superhero status was briefly threatened when we bought Dino. Gravy clearly took exception to this posh boy coming in. We put them in a field together once we took Dino out of the field with the ewes. Gravy ran at Dino from 20 yards. We looked at each other. ‘They’ll figure’ we thought. They didn’t. We had to separate them. Gravy wasn’t giving up his patch. Gravy is a superhero.


Two weeks ago our superhero’s time was up. We had orders for 4 lambs. 3 of the 2016 born rams and Gravy were due to go. Gravy, usually quite content to stand next to us at the feeding through, took one look at us and bolted. We tried to round him up and funnel him into the catching pen but he wasn’t having any of it. In the end we had to cancel two of the half lamb orders (or rather postpone them) and just take the other three. Gravy had escaped death again – but not for long. The next batch of lamb would be ready soon and we’d just take him then.

But that’s not how Gravy’s story ends because last weekend we got a message on preloved where we had advertised the rams ages ago and where I’d just let the ad running  – mainly because I forgot. Someone was interested in buying a ram. I responded a little apologetically explaining that we only had the rather small 2015 born one left really but he was welcome to come and see him. I attached a photo and wasn’t expecting much really but ,Gravy being Gravy, he impressed. He was picked up earlier today and is going to a nice new home in Bradford where he will, for the first time ever, be able to admire (and more) some ewes from the correct side of the fence and all that effort into growing horns and testicles will have been worth it after all.

Good luck Gravy, our Number 29 and very much our super sheep!




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Getting ready to say bye to Brough

So the time has come. I have, if I am honest, been putting this off but it is time to sell our ram. He is now nearly 2 years old and has been with us since October 2014. If you are looking for a pedigree Jacob Sheep ram then look no further. He’s your guy! Here are pictures of him throughout his time with us.

Anyway, with a slightly heavy heart I advertised Brough on preloved today. From the minute we got him he has made me smile and taught me a lot about sheep, and rams in particular. He has, with us humans at least, been the perfect gentleman. He has always been good natured with us and hasn’t shown any agression at all. He also seems pretty placid with the rest of the flock. He wasn’t keen on the first lambs when they were born so we moved him out of the field so the other ewes could lamb in peace and not worry about him but with us he’s always been lovely.



If we could I’d keep him forever but we need to introduce a new bloodline because we don’t have the space to keep him separated from his daughters and our flock is so small that we really want to operate with just one ram. It would be ideal if someone wanted to


buy him now as his sons are ready to either be sold for breeding or as meat now too and that would free up one of our fields completely. Given the rain we’ve had everywhere is a muddy mess and the more we can rest land the better!


So, our Brough, the Broughster as I have started calling him, comes from a good line of Jacob Sheep. He’s from a Nettlebed Ewe and he is a pretty good looking sheep. He is Jacob Sheep Society registered and we have all the paperwork. He has got lovely shaped horns which are in no danger of getting too close to his head and which are quite useful for grabbing him. He’s a decent size without being huge, probably about as big and heavy as we can manage really – we’re not tall enough for the really big Jacobs!

summer 2015 194

Brough is calm and bucket trained and he likes his hay. We’ve never had any problems catching him and we have often walked him in between the two of us, holding a horn each, from one field to the other – including past a generator for shearing! At two years old and with his second set of lambs on the way (due end March/early April) he is proven but only just heading towards his prime. I shall miss him and I also know that we were so lucky to get him and getting a ram with a similar temperament isn’t going to be easy.