Riddlesden Jacobs

A site about a West Yorkshire flock of Jacob Sheep

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Fortnightly Sheep: Edith

Little Edith is our first bottle fed lamb. She is one of triplets  born in January 2014 and her mum is the 2 horn ewe number 10. Here she is as a lamb learning to work her legs

Edith has always been a bit special. She had really droopy ears like lambs sometimes do but hers never picked up (they’re still a bit floppy now) and she always seemed to have a slightly odd shaped head and bloated belly. In fact we were so concerned about how bloated she was that we took her to the vet and tried home remedies like olive oil and ground ginger. She just didn’t seem right and kept scouring for ages. We had her in the house for a few days, then back on the field and then brought her back to the house when she seemed poorly again.

She has come round well but there is still something a little odd about her and we decided that we wouldn’t risk lambing her in case she does have problems. We were wondering what to do with her as we couldn’t bring ourselves to sell her for meat and then we decided to keep two of the lambs for breeding in the future and therefore decided that Edith could just stay with them and that if we did that every year, she’d always be able to stay with the lambs we were going to keep. So that’s the plan.

Edith is tame as you would expect from a bottle fed lamb. She often comes and stands by us, sometimes leaning against out legs, sometimes just being with us. When we walk the field she comes with us and when we feed the sheep she’ll still come and check that we haven’t saved her any food in the bucket. She used to get pushed off so we fed her on her own out of the bucket for a bit. She’s also got a really distinctive bleat which always sounds a bit impatient and cross. I reckon I could pick her out of any flock without seeing her. She’s the only of our bottle fed lambs left with us now but she seems to have integrated herself into the flock – at least while we’re not there to distract her.


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Fortnightly Sheep – Ewe 12

Ah yes, number 12. A 2 horn ewe who has been the tamest from the start. She was also the first ewe I could really recognise and identify because she lost an eartag not long after she arrived with us. It seems odd now that I couldn’t tell our ewes apart when we first got them. It seems so obvious now.Ewe 12

Number 12 is great to have in the flock because she is so friendly. If people come to meet our sheep you can always count on number 12 to come and have a look and see if anyone is going to give her some sheep nuts. Number 6 does that too but she can be a bit pushy and sometimes scares visitors a bit. Number 12 will eat out of our hands and she is very sweet the way she stands back until you invite her in by stretching your hand towards her. She is Kath’s mum’s favourite because of her lovely manner.

2015 lambs to ewe 12

Ewe 12 had twins in 2014 and again this year. The pciture above shows this year’s on the day they were born (or possibly the day after!) and the video below shows last year’s minutes after being born. Last year she had one of each, this year both are female. She is a very good mum and looks after her lambs well. There’s a bit more on her 2015 lambing story in a previous blog post. Like most of our two horn ewes she is on the older side so we will need to check her carefully once the lambs are weened and decide whether to keep her another year. If we can’t I shall miss her friendly face and gentle nuzzle as she takes sheep nuts out of your hand (and sometimes your pocket).

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Fortnightly Sheep – Ewe 14

Ewe 14 is one of our old heads. She’s 2 horned and I am not sure how old she is. She had a single  ram lamb in January 2014 and she had triplets (1 ram) in April 2015 and has managed to keep them all with her without us needing to top them up. There’s not much to say about her. She just goes about her business of being a sheep quietly and mostly calmly. She was a bit anxious with the triplets but did very well with them from the start so she actually never looked like she needed our help.

She’s quite easy to sport because she has a distinctive white bit that cuts into the black of her face. She has lost a bit of condition with the triplets and we need to have a good look at her. She may be rather on the old side to keep for another year. We don’t want to create problems for her and us but we’ll see. If everything looks fine and she puts condition back on once the lambs are weened it would be lovely to have such a good ewe around for a bit longer


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Fortnightly Sheep – Ewe 17

I have once again lost the plot with the fortnightly sheep. I saved some in draft posts rather than scheduling them! So let’s try that again. After the heartbreak of nearly 2 weeks ago I thought it might be nice to tell you a bit more about the ewe who unfortunately lost her tIMG_2270 smallriplets. So I am moving this post up and have now hopefully scheduled a couple more fortnightly sheep! So Ewe 17 –  this little stunnder was born in early 2013 and came with the original flock we got. She nearly didn’t. We were only planning on taking 12 but as we loaded them all into the trailer, Malcolm pointed out one lovely looking little ewe. We took a good look at her and immediately liked her lots so caught her and loaded her into the trailer: Ear tag number 17. The picture on the left shows her just a couple of months after she came to us.

She is a 4 horn ewe with a kink in one of her horns. She has never been overly friendly, preferring to keep her distance and watch from afar but she also isn’t really skittish. She generally comes into the shed or pen when we need to catch them and she is mostly quite calm. I think of her as small and she probably is smaller than some but I am looking forward to seeing her after shearing to get a sense of how small exactly she is when she’s not so woolly.

She has a lovely confirmation and lovely fleece.. I like the pictures below because they show how much she has developed and grown – her horns in particular. The picture on the left is from December 2013 so she will have been just under a year old. The one on the right is from December 2014 so she had had her first shear and was coming up to 2 years old. We were also hoping that she had been tupped (the ram went into the field in late October)

. We then thought she wasn’t pregnant but she was obviously just tupped a lot later than the others so she wIMG_5362 smallas ready to lamb a IMG_2363 smallgood 6 weeks after the first lambs in the flock were born. What happened next I captured in a previous post. All three triplets she was carrying died and we had to get the vet to help. Luckily number 17 is fine

When I wrote that post I was quite upset but when you have livestock you just need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get on with it and that’s what we did and it seems that that is what Ewe 17 has also done. She was clearly sore for a few days and when we caught her again to give her another shot of antibiotics she was scared but let us handle her and check her. She seems fine now.

So will we keep her? Yes I think we will. There’s nothing scientific about this but none of the ewes who had triplets last year did so this year so maybe she won’t carry triplets again which would make things easier for her and there are no signs of any damage to her so she should be fine.

Ewe 17 April 2015

Ewe 17 April 2015

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Fortnightly Sheep – Ewe 2

Ewe 2 is the focus of this post. She is a smallish 2 horn ewe born in early 2013. I’ve always thought she was a little stunner and secretly she’s been my favourite. She is however shy. Well actually she’s skittish, very skittish. The image above shows her over Christmas 2014 when she was not quite a year old and was really quite fluffIMG_5543y with all her wool. Following her first shear, I really struggled to recognise her as all the two horn ewes looked the same for a while! I soon got my eye in again though.

Number 2 has not got any tamer since we had her. She stands back and watches carefully but never comes close. She is the first to run away and  can be a bit of a bugger to catch. She usually knows when we are planning on catching the sheep and just refuses to go into the shed. Once caught though she’s fairly placid.

Comparing the pictures from when we got her to now, she has grown quLamb to ewe 2ite a lot and her horns in particular seem to have changed quite a bit. She was still lamb shape when she came to us but has defintily developed into sheep and is now showing some of the same characteristics our other 2 horn ewes show. Though not as calm as them, she is never agressive and she isn’t difficult to handle. She has also shown a great instinct as a mother. She had twins on Easter Sunday. One of them was Lilly – I blogged about her a little while ago and eventhough Lilly died, she is a good, careful but not overprotective mum to the remaining twin – a funny little thing with very distinct markings, a bit freaky looking if I’m honest

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Things got busy… fortnightly sheep catch-up

Oh dear, something went wrong with our fortnightly sheep posts and the ones due to post didn’t (and we would have run out of prepared posts anyway now) and we were so busy with our day jobs that we didn’t check or have time to do anything about it had we checked. So we shall start again with that so this post is about ewe 13, an older ewe which we got from Malcolm in our original flock. She’s got wide swept back horns and quite distinctive 6 dark domino spots on her left side.

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She had ram triplets in January 2014 and was doing well with them but one died when it was a few days old. We’re not really sure why because he seemed healthy and a good size for a triplet and his belly was quite full – he must have just got separated in bad weather and gone downhill fast.

???????????????????????????????Number 13 is a lovely ewe. She’s calm and friendly but not exactly tame. She has eaten out of our hands on occassion but not often and usually stands back observing. I like her but there’s actually very little to say about her because she’s never really any bother. Nothing really every happens in relation to her and she is just a steadying influence in the flock. We considered selling her last year but decided to keep her because of her calming presence. She had a single female lamb at the end of March this year and again didn’t need our help and just got on with it. We’ll give her a thorough check soon and then decide whether we keep her another year. Unfortunately we’re not exactly sure how old she is and we don’t want to store up problems for lambing next time!


If I could have a flock full of number 13s I’d be a very happy shepherdess indeed!

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Fortnightly Sheep: Ewe 1

And here’s our 3rd sheep profile. She is our number 1 and to be honest she never really attracted much attention. She is quiet and a little shy but has never been any bother.

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As you can see she is quite striking with an almost black face and and quite a lot of brown particularly round her neck and front. She’s a little 4 horn ewe born in early 2013 She looks quite stocky in the picture above which is from January 2014 but it’s mostly wool and she is actually one of our slighter ewes.

She seems to often stick with our number 6 which we profiled earlier this year and she was, for a little while at least, Brough’s favourite. She’s not as brave as those two though and will be the first to back off if we come too close. She has settled a lot though compared to the early days. If she lambs this year, and we hope she will, it will be her first time.

20140707_173907The picture above shows her just after shearing in July 2014 (her first) looking pretty miserable and in fact we thought we might lose her a week or so later. She got a few little cuts during shearing (we’re going to find someone else this year!) and although we sprayed the sheep against flies and any cuts with anti-septic spray, she still developed a nasty little wound which attracted flies and we had to scrape out maggots and spray fly and maggot spray on her for several days. She kept herself away from the rest of the flock but came to the trough to eat. Luckily the weather changed and there were fewer flies around and the cuts healed properly. We’re delighted she made a full recovery and are looking forward to seeing her lambs and how she is with them.