This Sheep Wasn't Shorn for Six Years

Shrek, a domesticated sheep in New Zealand, hid in a cave during shearing season for six years. His wool continued to grow until he was finally caught and given a haircut. Modern Farmer interviewed Dr. David Thomas, an expert on sheep, about shearing:

Modern Farmer: Let’s get right down to business. Will wool just keep growing and growing if humans don’t cut it off?

Dave Thomas: For domestic sheep like the Merino [Shrek's breed], the answer is yes.

MF: So domestic sheep have evolved based on the way we groom them?

DT: That’s right. Primitive sheep like Bighorns in the West still shed most of their wool every year. And domestic sheep, the ones raised primarily for their meat, will do some shedding. But for the majority of sheep, there is continual, year-round wool growth.

MF: Shrek was obviously an extreme case, yes?

DT: It’s very rare for wool to get that long. We do hear stories from people with just a few sheep at home, who have a hard time finding a shearer.


(Photos: Modern Farmer)

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