It’s not often you hear a true “black sheep” story. Meet Shrek… independent and inventive, each year avoiding capture while seeking freedom in the mountains of New Zealand.
Imagine the freedom of a life well spent, free to roam and enjoy … living life in harmony with your natural instincts. This was the way of life for a single sheep; the veritable “black-sheep” of modern wool production sheep herds.
Escaping From Captivity
While all the other sheep heeded the call of their owners to be rounded up by the farm hands in preparation for the yearly sheep shearing, one single sheep turned the other direction.
Just before the big round-up, when the weather turned warm, this long haired lamb would head out to the mountains where he would set up shelter in the comfort of a cave and exist on the abundant food provided by nature.
The Black Sheep’s Story
For six years, after winter grazing with the heard and during the spring shearing season, this black sheep would leave the grazing herd and head into the mountains, intentionally opting out of the shearing process. By the time he was found in 2004, his coat had turned from white into a color that almost matched the hills themselves.
Bred For Domestication
Modern Farmer interviewed Dave Thomas, head of sheep studies at the university of Wisconsin, Madison.
According to Mr. Thomas, domestic sheep, like the Merino, have been bred to provide wool in large amounts to be used in the making of fine-clothing.
Each year, their wool must be sheared, unlike primitive sheep such as the Western Bighorns which still shed most of their wool every year.
Moving Back Into The Crowd
The owners that finally found this sheep considered that it was most likely his desire to finally be sheared that caused him to come out of hiding.
Just like the hermit who’s come out of his cave, the memory of spring life in the mountains is likely to remain with this guy.
It makes me wonder… will he come back again next year?