Ever wonder why the occasional very dark Lincoln appears in your flock? It might have the traditional pattern of darker shoulders and a lighter saddle, but a darker shade than most, or it might even be a solid colored black animal like the ewe lamb below. As longwools, Lincoln color is based on the agouti genes, where white is the most dominant color and solid colored black is the most recessive. Color in sheep is governed by a pair of genes, just as eye color is in humans. So if one or both of those genes is for white wool, then the sheep will appear white. And if both of the genes are for color, either patterned or black, then the sheep will be natural colored.
Over the years, we have isolated and worked with the most recessive of these colors - solid colored black. Every year, we use sires in our natural colored flock that either express or carry this solid color so that we have a range of black lambs to choose from, either to sell as breeding stock or to retain in our own program. Most of these animals fade to charcoal by the time they are a year or two old, however the occasional sheep will stay jet black throughout its entire lifetime. Handspinners love to purchase these naturally dark fleeces and the sheep themselves are dramatic in appearance. Please feel free to contact me if you want to learn more about these rare and beautiful color genetics.