dave & katrina
oberlef at desupernet.net
Fri Dec 8 10:08:34 EST 2000
Amen! Preach it, sister.
I have been browsing some sites of English Jacobs..there is a lot out there.. and finding I don't hate the look. They have some beautiful animals. I like their strong black and whites. Their goals are just too restrictive for me, that's all. Read their description of a good Jacob some time. Very detailed about markings, etc. (It doesn't seem that they are all bred with meat as the major objective either...more of a side benefit. Most are show animals, I think.) It sounds like English owners take a lot of pleasure in their animals as well.
I love not only the look of the American Jacob, but the spunkiness and most especially the mothering abilities and lamb vigor. I would choose them any day over the "improved" English Jacob.The surprise and diversity is what our Jacobs are best at. However, I think there are some traits that are best controlled so they don't become too dominant. That involves intervention by man.
By the way, I think Ingrid Painter says in her book that the American Jacob seems to have better wool than its counterpart in England. The leanness of our Jacob meat is far better than some lamb I've eaten. So again the word "improved" starts to seem a little abstract.
I am a little surprised by some breeders of American Jacobs who claim they are not selecting or imposing values on their sheep. To do that is nearly impossible. Granted some breeders do more culling than others, but we all choose some rams and reject others. We decide who gets bred to who. Even if we line breed, we are making choices to increase the number of that specific line. These are part of our responsibilities as a shepherd. Edd, Wayne and Edie and most people who have been around a while all say that the American Jacob looks different now than it did only 10 years ago. A breed is living and with that comes change. It is chosen by humans and is maintained by humans. I just think we humans realized we didn't see the whole picture before of what to value in a breed.
One question... I have heard many times that English breeders claim no cross-breeding was used in getting their animals to the size they are today. I have heard just as many times that Horned Dorset, etc was used in the past (although I am sure that not much is happening now. right?) I know many breeds underwent introduction of another breed here in the USA, so it makes sense. Does anyone know if it is documented? George and Debbie, did any breeders talk about the history of their breeding program while you were there?
Wow... now that cold weather hit, we are all getting a little philosophical. smile. I am enjoying the flurry of e-mail.
Katrina Lefever, Chicory Lane
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