These here are a special kind of sheep. The Katahdin sheep also known as "The Meat Sheep" doesn't grow wool. One would be inclined to wonder at how it comes to being that a sheep the great giver of fiber would have the ability to grow wool weeded out of them. But this sheep is bread with hair and is done so for it's "low mantinance" meat. While I may not think this is generally a smart move, and while it does make my knitterly soul die a little, they were very nice sheep. They seemed zen and generally peaceful.
There were several different farms showing them this year, personally I have never heard of them before. Still a beautiful animal all around.
This little lady is a Burrowing Owl. While they are smaller than a pidgeon they are going extinct and that is a shame. However some canadian farmers realizing they co-exist well with cattle have kept some land from becoming pasture land to keep burrowing owls. The burrowing owl is a great mouser and that is something that attracts farmers to her. She also lives in abandoned gopher holes that are burrows then lined with various things including at times cow dung. They are well known insect eaters (grasshoppers and the like), as well as mice, snakes, frogs and beetles. They never make their own burrows but rather use abandoned burrows from other burrowing animals. In canada they are found mostly in alberta, saskatchewan and manitoba.
This particular burrowing owl was at a conservation booth, she was extreamly goregous and well behaved, she even allowed us to touch her (so soft it seems unimaginable). I have never had the joy of petting an owl before but it was akin to touching other birds. Her eyes also were just breathtaking.
One might wonder why we wouldn't feel more about such a clearly benifical animal. While less than 1,000 pairs currently live in Saskatchewan. Their natural preditors include eagles, foxes, eagles, coyotes, badgers, and snakes. Unfortunatly the spray meant for grasshoppers hurts these little fellows and makes them either impotent or kills them outright. This seems counter intuative as they feast on grasshoppers, it would seem smarter to keep a few burrowing owls and forgo the grasshopper spray, as they can eat over 10,000 grasshoppers per day as full grown adults.
She seemed to know that she was beautiful, she was very calm with everyone and was perched atop her travel carrier. The handler said that when they travel she likes to perch on the back of the headrest and hang out. Clearly this one isn't intended to be re-released into the wild, as she seems to have gotten used to the easy life. It's still quite a shame there aren't more of them living in the wild.
This pair of Alpaca were part of Living Sky Alpaca's. The brown one seemed more social in the beginning but it was the white one who loved mugging for the camera and talking to us.
Of course I had no problem talking to alpaca's while people around me may have thought I'd lost a screw or two at some point. They were quite hungry when we came by the stall, and it took the brown one a few minutes to find the food.
They decided to show us their bums, being ever the eager photographer I couldn't resist a picture of paca tocks. Rediculous? Surely! But this proves that they even have cute butts. Right next to them where I took the picture from was some fleeces, one of the paca's had one first place, I think it was the brown one (or else a paca that didn't show up at the stall) as it was a darker colored fleece with an intense staple length and softness. It was uber fab. as were the pacas.
As I said the brown one wasn't much for us humans but the white one was making some noises and looking at us, or as my mother would say about a baby human doing the same "telling stories". I prefer to think that the alpaca was just trying to have a friendly conversation and ask me how the agribition was going.
That of course was around the same time people started looking at me funny. But who can resist that cute little face with those cute little ears? Clearly not a human.
There were also MINI Donkey's. There was a pair of them, they were probably tired by the time we came along but we very cute and if that's the size of a mini-donkey I would like to know exactly how big a regular donkey is. But then again until I got there I had no idea what size an actual cow was. I was on par with the size of actual sheep, but aside from that I really didn't have a spacial concept of animal proportions. Even though I'd been to Agribition as a child.
The donkey's wanted to sleep I guess, and I can't really blame them, it has been a long week full of onlookers for the dynamic duo. And while all the animals were treated nicely and recieved more than adiquate care I can more than likely bet that they wanted to be home in their nice warm barns rather than in the agribition barns being gawked at by buss loads of school children. But who wouldn't love their cute little faces?
Here is another Katahdin sheep. Possibly the most Zen of sheep, the buddah of sheep if you will. Just maxing and relaxing in the provided hay. That would be the quality I noticed most in these sheep they were zen like. While one stoped to baa at me, the rest being tired as every animal must have been just kind of chilled out. I don't think personally I could ever eat a sheep. I love them too much as fiber providing animals.
I leave you with more sheeply enjoyment. Sheep faces, sheeps in jackets, sheeps without jackets, just sheep in general. While we attended the sheep shearing Amber was kind enough (as I was being a total sissyass) to go and grab me a handful of raw fleece (they were just letting people it was crazy) which I am going to process myself.
All in all it was a good year to go, much fiber, much fiber animals, much fun. And a ravelry pin to boot!