May 15, 2013
The sheep got serious “haircuts” last week on the Indiana Family Farm, with each sheep shedding about ten pounds of wool!
Roxy, an 8-year-old female, and Jerry, her 7-year-old son, got their semi-annual shearing at the hands of zoo keeper Sarah Sloan. Wielding heavy-duty electric clippers, Sloan carefully trimmed every inch of each sheep, creating mounds of wool on the barn floor. The wool is donated to local artisans, who spin it into yarn for knitting.
“Shearing helps keep the sheep comfortable now that the weather is warmer,” Sloan said. “If we didn’t shear them, their wool would continue to grow and become matted.”
The sheep were surprisingly calm during the procedure. Zoo keeper Heather Schuh held each sheep’s head while Sloan did the shearing. Sloan stopped occasionally to check the temperature of the shearing blade, making sure it wasn’t getting too hot. “The blade gets caked with lanolin from the wool,” she explained. “We replace it after each shearing session.” Lanolin is a waxy substance that naturally occurs in sheep’s wool and allows the wool to easily shed water. Lanolin is used in lotions, ointments, and many industrial products.
After their extreme makeovers, Roxy and Jerry appeared unfazed by their now-slim silhouettes. “After shearing, we can get a good look at their body condition, and they’ll be a lot more comfortable in the hot weather,” said Sloan. The sheep already have their next “haircut” appointment booked for August.
Click the photos below to enlarge to full screen.
Posted in: Farm Animals, Zoo News