The Red River Zoo is proud to announce the birth of four rare Jacob Sheep.
Jacob Sheep originated in Syria over 3,000 years ago. They are a rare breed of small, docile, piebald (colored with white spots), multi horned sheep. Jacob Sheep may have from two to six horns, but most commonly have four.
The name Jacob comes from the Old Testament. This biblical story of Jacob’s striving to achieve spotted sheep and goats is thought to be the earliest record of selective breeding. Jacob Sheep are descendants from an ancient Old World breed of sheep, although its exact origins remain unclear. It appears that their black and white coloring may have originated with Moorish sheep brought from Spain or Africa and their four-horned characteristics originated from Norse sheep from Scandinavia.
Jacob Sheep are a heritage breed which are at risk of extinction. Due to careful breeding efforts, Jacob Sheep are now considered threatened and are making a comeback. Heritage breeds are historic breeds that retain essential attributes for survival and self-sufficiency such as fertility, foraging ability, longevity, maternal instincts, and resistance to disease and parasites.
The Zoo’s two ewes (female sheep) each gave birth to twin lambs. The first pair, two girls, were born on March 29th. The second pair, two boys, were born in April 5th. All four are healthy and active.
Jacob Sheep and other rare heritage breeds are featured in the new Children’s Zoo Farm at the Red River Zoo. The Children’s Zoo Farm will be opening to the public on April 23rd at Party for the Planet and as a kick-off to the Zoo’s summer season.
The Red River Zoo’s summer season starts on April 24th, when the Zoo will be open from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm daily.