We need to talk…again!

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Girls, we need to talk! And this is for each and every one of you wooly jerks!

Levi and I went to Dairyland for lunch today. While Levi and I were giving our orders Linda Bartlett gave me some very interesting news. I can see by the guilty shuffling of your hooves that you know exactly what I am talking about. Linda commented to me that my sheep sure do love banana splits. I said, “Whaaaaat?”

Oh, yes, she informed me that every night before closing you guys show up and order cheese fries and banana splits. Seriously, WTF?! Here I am, going crazy, trying to get you guys to lose weight and you’re sneaking out after chores every night to eat junk food!

And “borrowing” Dad’s suburban. Do you realize he’s been suspecting the neighbors of siphoning gas? You guys aren’t even licensed! What if you got pulled over? His insurance would go through the roof!

If you MUST go to Dairyland, here are the rules; #1 You WALK! It’s only a few miles and, let’s face it, you need the exercise! #2 No more cheese fries! You may have salad, no dressing! And #3 NO MORE BANANA SPLITS! A small frozen yogurt, that’s it.

I don’t want to hear any baaaing about it! You guys are in so much trouble right now!

We need to talk…

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Me: Bear, we need to talk.

Bear: Scratches?

Me: Alright, I will give you scratches. But we need to talk about your weight. Your belly almost hangs down to your knees!

Bear (hanging her head): I know. I can’t seem to lose weight no matter what I do.

Me: Well, I have been cutting back on your food, hoping to help you lose weight. But I really wish you would stop yelling at me about it. It’s for your own good, you know.

Bear: More scratches?

Me: ~Sigh~ Yes, more scratches. But you need to lose weight!

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Me: Moana, we need to talk. You’re too fat! You need to lose weight!

Moana: I am not fat! I’m a sheep. I am fluffy!

Me: Sissy sheared you last week. You are not fluffy now, but you are still fat!

Moana: I am big-boned!

Me: See this big belly right here? This thing that wobbles back and forth when you walk? That is no bone!

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Me: Fatty Patty, we need to talk.

Fatty Patty: I’m busy right now. I am eating.

Me: That’s the problem. You eat too much. Look at you! Your back is like a dining room table!

Fatty Patty: A dining room table with food on it?

Me: ~Sigh~

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Me: Freckles, we need to talk. You are too fat. You’re almost as wide as you are tall!

Freckles: You’re a fine one to talk about anyone else’s weight. Look at YOU!

Me: I know I’m too fat. But I am not in danger of being culled for being too fat! Besides, this is about you’re weight, not mine.

Freckles: Don’t you-fat shame me, Keen! I have rights, you know!

Picky, picky, picky…

See all that thick, lush, juicy grass? I led the sheep right to it, then headed back to the barn to do chores. Not even 10 minutes passed before they were all crowded at the gate, yelling at me that they were STARVING! You tell me; do they look malnourished to you? Anyone? Brats!

 

Sheep Diet Fail

Bear, Moana, Fatty Patty! You guys have been on a diet for months; why are you still so fat?! Now that Sissy has shorn you, the wool does not hide your obesity any more. How can you still be so fat after months of being on a diet? How can this be?

Keeping them a little bit hungry

My sister has been on my case for a long time, telling me the sheep are too fat. They get very little grain, but we also give them bread and cull vegetables, apples, corn husks, whatever is available seasonally. They do like their treats. And they yell at me when they don’t think they have had enough treats. I don’t want them to be obese, but it is hard for me to say no to them. I don’t want them to feel deprived. Karen calls it “spoiling them”. OK, so I am guilty. And, until recently, unrepentant.

However, the past two years, approximately 1/3 of the flock did not breed. The same 10 sheep two years in a row. The vet cannot find anything wrong. These girls did not even come into heat, although they are all healthy. The only other possibility we can think of is their weight. And Karen is talking about culling them. A perfectly logical response when animals are unproductive. We aren’t making money at this, but the girls at least have to pay for themselves. Without lambs to sell we are losing money, buying food for them with no return. (At $.09 per pound for wool, it really isn’t worth shearing them except to make them more comfortable in the heat.)

Well, some of these 10 non-producers are my favorites. So, I have been on a major campaign to make them lose weight. I have put them on a strict diet these past few months. Less grain, less bread, less veggies, less treats, even less hay. They look to me like they are slimmer. I did it gradually so they wouldn’t feel deprived. To my eyes they are being fed very little. They have gotten used to it and don’t make too much of a fuss.

But, when they go out to graze they try to compensate for what they don’t get in the barn. They STUFF themselves. And they eat the tougher grasses and weeds they would have ignored in previous years. When they knew they would get plenty in the barn they were much more persnickety, only eating the young, tender grasses. That is what they would prefer, still, whenever it is available. However, they are doing a much better job of cleaning up their pastures. This is a good thing!

Much as I hate to admit it, Sissy was right. Feeding them less has been better all around. And they still love me. We won’t know for a while if this diet will bring them into heat when we introduce a ram, but I am hopeful. It won’t be long now.