Thursday, August 13, 2009

Animal Woes

Today was one of those days that took its own route, despite lots of well-intentioned planning. Our big event of the day was going to be Mary coming to pick up her alpacas, and then following her back home to help install the boys. I was really looking forward to meeting all her critters - angora goats, pygmy goat, chickens, livestock guardian puppies, and of course, the bunnies.

But after Mary worked her half day at school and went home to hook up her trailer, she found her angora bunny buck listless and in really bad shape. I was happy to give her a bunny vet referral, except that he is in Plano - not a short drive from her house. But Mary doesn't discourage easily, and off to the bunny doctor she sped. The good news is, Carter was treated for heat stroke and given lots of fluids and medicine. We're thinking good thoughts for you, fuzzy guy! Get well!

The other unplanned animal event happened in the early afternoon. I looked up from my computer and saw the Parker landscaping crew in their little golf cart-thing, a Parker police squad car, and the Murphy animal control truck pulling into my driveway. Hmmmm. That's different. I sauntered out onto the porch.

Me: "Hi guys, what's up?"
The guys in the cart: "Hi, did you lose a sheep?"
(Dear Lord, I hope not! Who could have gotten out?)
Me: "I don't think so. Did you find one?"
Them: "It's here on the back of the cart."

I ran around to see who this loose sheep could be..... WHEW, not mine. I saw a big white sheep, covered in mud and stickers, on her back with her feet tied together, breathing hard. She had some scratches on the insides of her legs and looked like she might have some heat rash on that tender skin. My mind started to race - oooooh, maybe I'll get a free sheep and look like a hero. Maybe that sheep is full of worms. Maybe that sheep is a pill to shear. Maybe that sheep is going to die of heat stroke! Has that sheep been sheared or has she grown out? She's too wet to shear now. Can I cobble a pen together? What would I do with her then? What if she's sick? How did a sheep like this get out?

The men hoisted her off the cart and set her down on her feet. We offered her some water, but of course, she was too freaked out to drink. I pulled some big sticker branches off of her and some wool came with it. Very nice wool, I thought in passing, and tossed it off to the side. I asked the Animal Control officer what would happen to her. Officer Tammy told me she'd be kept for 3 days to see if anyone claimed her. I offered to come by the shelter to check on her tomorrow and see how she's doing.

The men loaded her into the Animal Control truck and off everybody went in a terribly official-looking parade. Then I realized it would have been great to have had my camera handy. Dang.

Later in the house, I looked closer at the wad of wool I had pulled off. Incredibly fine and crimpy. I compared my memory of her face to some sheep pictures on the internet. She could actually be a Cormo or some kind of Merino cross. Unbelievable. I don't know anyone around here with fine wool sheep. I really am anxious now to see if anyone comes for her. I'll be checking in with Tammy at Animal Control and see how things transpire.

Handling that awesome fiber got my juices flowing so I went into the Red Barn and pulled out a Jacob fleece that my friend Joanne donated to the CSA cause. This fleece came from a beautiful sheep from the same flock as Israel and Tommy, and I knew the fiber would be great.

The temperature was quite bearable today, so I assembled some chairs and unfolded the skirting table onto them. I unrolled the fleece, and gasped. It was gorgeous. What a pleasure to lightly pick out a small amount of grass and sticks, while separating the black from the white wool. Sections that couldn't be practically separated were put in the "heather" bag and will be blended together into a pleasing gray. The process didn't take long, so just about the time my upper back started getting tired, I was ready to quit. Next, I'll wash it, and then it will be ready to process into roving. Thank you, Joanne!!

Baa baa black (and white) sheep, have you any wool? Yes, sir! Yes, sir! Three bags full!

5 comments:

  1. So did you find out who owned the sheep? I don't see a lot of sheep when I drive through your area headed north to Allen so I don't know of any sheep farms. There's some llamas in Plano, and I think maybe I saw some sheep down by the dairy farm once.

    Good Luck.

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  2. Wow, usually it's not a good thing at all when a squad car pulls into the driveway! Do you think you'll adopt the Mystery Sheep if she isn't claimed?

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  3. Well, IF she's still there, I'll have to decide what to do. If I go down there before three days are up I may ask if I can take a fecal sample to my vet and see if she's wormy. Then I'll know if she'll need worming on top of a general cleaning-up. But I haven't called the shelter yet today, so I haven't assessed the situation. But I will, and keep everyone informed! It could be very cool!

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  4. Update - the sheep is still there, doing better, and I'll be stopping by in just a few minutes for a better look and to collect a fecal sample for the vet. It was time to do the sheep and alpacas anyway ;-).

    Apparently, that sheep ran for over two miles before they caught her. I can't believe she didn't fall down dead long before that.

    Maybe she's tougher than her breed would suggest?

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  5. She's tougher than MY breed would suggest! I couldn't have done that.

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