Suffolk sheep (which is what I mostly have) are known for having white bodies with black faces and legs, but Suffolk lambs are often born covered with adorable black spots and splotches. (Chip and Chip, my 11-year-old pet wethers, were so named because curled up together as newborns they resembled two scoops of chocolate chip ice cream.)
Some lambs, like Cary and her twin brother, are actually born completely black. But the spots quickly fade away, and even the fully black lambs eventually become white.
More below. . .
When I started raising sheep, my goal was to have a naturally colored flock that would provide me with gorgeous wool to spin into yarn for knitting, and so I bought a Border Leicester ram who had wonderful long black wool. I bred him to my white ewes, and because the ewes I have now are all related to my original flock, many years later there is still some of that black Border Leicester blood flowing through their veins.
My plans to learn to spin have long since fallen by the wayside, but I am always thrilled whenever a true black lamb is born on the farm. There is just something about black sheep that I have always loved. Unfortunately that jet black wool quickly bleaches to brown or grey in the sun (which is still very nice).
But unlike the faded-to-white Cary, that original dark color is still hiding under there.
And when shearing time comes around, these gorgeous girls are back in black (well, except for the big pale spot on this one's back, which started out about the size of a quarter and just keeps growing as she does). This is one of Snugglebunny's 2006 twin girls. Her sister is Lucky Cherry, who was born all speckled but faded to white (and now that she's had her little woolly face sheared, bears an uncanny resemblance to Cary).
Click here to see more photos and read more about Sheep Shearing Day 2007. (Note: I've started using Blogger's new labels for my posts, so this link will take you to all the recent posts labeled "sheep shearing," including this one. Just scroll down past it to reach the others.)
A year of Farm Photos ago:
2/19/06: Same Scene, New View
And WDB#22: Winter Spring