Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mona's (REALLY) Bad Hair Day

Icelandic sheep are a primitive breed that still have the ancient trait of shedding their wool in the spring. But there's another time when a sheep sheds her wool, and that's right after she's been sick or had a fever.

Right now, our ewe Mona is in the middle of both types at the same time.

Remember a few weeks ago, when Mona gave birth to a stillborn lamb that had been dead inside her for quite a while before it was born? I gave her a shot of penicillin at the time, but I did it in the dim light of the barn, late at night, and it wasn't until I needed to give another sheep some penicillin just recently that I noticed that my penicillin had all settled to the bottom of the bottle and needed significant amounts of shaking to mix it together properly again.

Well, I didn't notice that at the time when I gave Mona her shot, so apparently she didn't get the full benefit of the penicillin. She didn't feel well for a few days afterwards, and now she's going through a serious wool break. She would be shedding her wool for the spring anyway, but a wool break from fever is a lot more thorough---it takes off all the wool right down to the skin.

I'm due to shear the sheep for spring anyhow, but I've been delayed because it keeps raining every couple of days and you can't shear when the wool is damp. So for now, poor Mona has to walk around looking like a Muppet someone shoved halfway through a paper shredder:

How embarrassing!


Rhea said...

Poor Mona can't catch a break! Does she act like she's embarrassed? The reason I ask is because we had a large Great Pyranese that my parents used to have shaved in the summer...and he would go hide behind the couch right after his haircuts in he felt weird. lol

Nancy Chase said...

I don't know that she acts embarrassed, exactly. But having all that wool hanging off does annoy her. She tries to rub it off on everything she can reach.

I'm not in a big hurry to take it all off her though, because I'm worried she'll get a sunburn unless she has a chance to grow a tiny bit of wool cover underneath first.

Cheap Like Me said...

Well, she has a noble expression on her face, like a princess in rags!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps she feels she is starting her own fashion trend? But 'poor Mona' immediately leaps to mind when you see her standing there in tatters. She's had a tough Spring.

Amy - "Twelve Acres" said...

Poor Mona. At 5 weeks, my chicks look similar with patches of fluff and patches of feathers. It seems that bad hair days span all species!

Rhea said...

Oh, no, a sheep with a sunburn, I hadn't thought of that. Has this happened before? (a sunburn, I mean?)

Kris said...

I hope all this quiet means that you are getting a lot of shearing done!