Everyone is sad today. Gwydion the sheep died this morning.
See, sheep have to have their fleece sheared every spring; otherwise they get too hot and they can get ‘cast down’ like our grandma sheep, Baasha, did in May.
Last February, Dad made arrangements for a man to come shear our sheep. But he didn’t show up and then he didn’t return Dad’s phone calls, so Dad called another shearer who said he’d come. But he got rained out three weeks ago and since then, he hasn’t returned Dad’s calls either.
Mom and Dad knew they’d have to shear the sheep. It’s very hot now and they were afraid the sheep will overheat and die. They started getting up at 2 a.m. while it isn’t quite so hot and shearing a few sheep while it’s dark.
We have shears, but Mom and Dad can’t tip the sheep on their butts to shear them like professionals do. Dad has a bad back and now Mom still writer’s butt and she can’t bend over very well.
They had to halter and tie the sheep to the fence and trim the sheep while they are standing instead. To go faster so the sheep didn’t overheat (Mom and Dad are really slow shearers), the top of each sheep got sheared; they’ll shear them again, all over next time, this fall when it’s much cooler.
They sheared most of the sheep before coming to Gwydion. He was just a year old, even younger than me. It was very hot and very humid, even in the night, and Gwydion was very scared to be tied up. Dad began shearing him, then Gwydion fell over and he stopped breathing! Dad tried to give him CPR but he was dead. We were all shocked.
Mom cried and cried. The next morning Dad buried Gwydion and Mom threw all the bags of fleece away. She wants nothing to remind her of killing that beautiful sheep.
My mom and dad are very angry at themselves because they didn’t shear the sheep in April when it was cool and because they trusted professionals to honor their word and they didn’t.
Now the rest of the sheep have to wait until fall to be shorn. Mom bought more fans and is doing her best to keep them cool (I’ll talk more about that next week). She also ordered a crank-up fitting stand so she can shear the sheep herself next time.
And now she tells people on the Hobby Farms forum, “Don’t buy sheep unless you know a reliable shearer who will positively show up, or you’re willing to learn to do the job yourself.”
We miss you, Gwydion. Rest in Peace, woolly friend.