Shrek The Sheep Whose Fleece Provided Twenty Suits

Samuel Reason | November 11th, 2018

Shrek was just an ordinary sheep living in South Island, New Zealand when one day Shrek decided to go on an adventure and escaped from his enclosure. Merino sheep normally have their coat sheared once a year, but Shrek hated this with a passion.

For over 6 years his escape was a successful one, hiding around the local caves and alluding any attempts of being found. This sheep was on a mission to never be sheared again, he was going to escape and run away forever. And it was not until 2004 that he was finally found, his owner John Perriam, claimed he looked nothing like the sheep he lost. Claiming that Shrek now resembled some sort of biblical creature.

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Some sheep species actually naturally shed their wool every year, Merino sheep, however, do not do this. Deep in the caves far from any sheep farmers with shears, Shrek’s woolly coat continued to grow and grow. Merino sheep are actually typically raised for meat but in this case, Shrek’s wool became huge, with some artisans estimating they would be able to put together 20 suits just from his fleece alone.

When discovered his fleece weighed a total of sixty pounds! This caused many people to ask the question, would his wool grow forever? Dave Thomas from the University of Wisconsin, head of sheep studies, was able to confirm that Merino sheep’s wool will indeed grow forever if not sheared. This is a particular problem as if it becomes too large they are unable to get up when falling on their backs.

Shearing is actually painless for sheep, if done by an experienced individual, it will only take them about 8 minutes. Young sheep who do not know the process can become very stressed, but once they have gone through it a few times most sheep become docile when being sheared.

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