Thursday, July 30, 2015

Sheep Tails

In case you were wondering properly manicured sheep don't have tails. They get docked as a baby so they appear clean and neat when they grow into show lambs. I remember my dad actually docking the lambs' tails with a knife but now they use tiny tight bands of rubber that are strategically placed as close to the tail bone as possible. A special applicator stretches out the band so it can be slipped over the tail, then pinch, the applicator leaves the band in place on the tail. Many weeks later the tail dies and falls off.

Another personal fact about show sheep is that they wear clothes. When the lambs are sheared and finely trimmed with surgical blades the shepherd wants to keep the lambs clean. So they are dressed in body forming spandex jackets that have five holes - one for each leg and one for the head. Then to protect the jackets they get coats of canvas-type material that have one hole for the head and then tie under their bellies. You'll see sheep in these at fairs and shows, not on a typical sheep farm. The spandex layers get pretty creative on some sheep. John refuses to use the tie-died colorful ones for some reason. Instead he prefers to color code the jackets by size. All the smalls are red and the larger ones are blue. Yes, the coats come in small, medium, large and extra large also.

After a week at the county fair it was time to do the sheep laundry. Heaping mounds of dirty sheep laundry. I finished it up and the jackets and coats are now neatly folded and ready for the next time.

"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-- just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord" (John 10:14-18 NIV).

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