25th November 2008
A Sheep of a Different Color...
or Don't Count Your Fleeces Before They're Sheared. :-
I went out one morning to feed early in the week. As the sheep dove into the feed troughs, I noticed there was a PINK SHEEP in the trough. PINK???? I thought immediately of someone rubbing up against the "barn red" shed - but they didn't have access to that shed, and this was on TOP of the fleece.
Closer examination (when she came up for air from pigging out) and with a terrible groan! I recognized Bessie under all that "pink" fleece. I'd been coveting Bessie's fleece for weeks, and now with shearing only about a month away, I was dreaming of spinning those luscious fawn locks. Bessie obviously had other ideas.
It didn't take long to realize that she'd taken advantage of the new mineral feeder. She must've been thinking that it wasn't just a mineral feeder, but a personal scratching post. I had positioned it high enough that it wouldn't catch sheep pellets, and low enough that lambs could reach it and the sheep couldn't get under it. I thought. Well, Bessie figured out how to get under it, lift it off its bracket, rock it back and forth and spill essentially all the mineral onto her back. GRRRRRRRRRRR!!!
Well, sometimes I'm a little slow. Today, I realized that the mineral didn't just stain the outer parts of her fleece, it probably was trapped down there next to her skin, not doing her fleece or skin any good! I got out the livestock blower/dryer, haltered her and tied her up, and proceeded to blow as much of the grit out as possible. There was a lot in there! (... and a lot of VM came flying out, too! More than I expected for as clean as her fleece looks.)
Now, blowing is a great way to clean and prep Scottish Blackface for the show ring. I don't think it has the same effect on Shetlands - Bessie looked like a wooly puff ball after blowing out!
...though with a little smoothing, Bessie still looked pretty good!
Maybe I'll get to spin her beautiful locks after all... maybe a little dye will make it all better.
"Pink" Sheep Mineral
Bessie all Puffed up
Bessie a little more "normal"