Posts Tagged ‘sheep’

by , Keeper
I've been at the museum since 2010. I love to read and learn; it's rare that a day goes by at work when I'm not suppressing the urge to spew out something cool I just learned to my coworkers. In my spare time, I play the 'cello, snuggle my dog and reminisce about snowmen and Nor'easters.
I work Sunday through Thursday. You can find me raking the Farmyard in the morning or training the donkey and dwarf goats in the afternoon.

Sheep Update

February 17th, 2013

Since the arrival of our 4 alpacas, we’ve had many people inquire about our sheep. A member of our farrier‘s family (the man who comes out to trim Lightning’s hooves) was very excited to provide the retirement home for our old ladies. They now live about an hour from Durham on a few acres of grass with a roomy stall they can access at any time. Their only jobs are to mow the lawn and to look pretty.

Our farrier, Ron, was here a couple weeks ago and he told me the sheep have some new companions! They initially moved in with a couple goats (one of which just had twins!) but just recently, two older rams with very curly horns joined them! Ron couldn’t remember what breed the rams were, but he said one of them had horns that curled around in two full circles, kind of like this guy:

ram

Almost 2 full circles!

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  1. Great update. Thank you for sharing.

    Posted by Ranger Ro

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum since 2010. I love to read and learn; it's rare that a day goes by at work when I'm not suppressing the urge to spew out something cool I just learned to my coworkers. In my spare time, I play the 'cello, snuggle my dog and reminisce about snowmen and Nor'easters.
I work Sunday through Thursday. You can find me raking the Farmyard in the morning or training the donkey and dwarf goats in the afternoon.

I Spy

September 9th, 2012

Have you ever looked closely at a goat or sheep and noticed their weird rectangular eyes? I hear guests commenting on them every few weeks; some people love them, some people are disturbed by them, I think they’re awesome!

Sheep goat eyes

Mutton Sheep, Rocky Goat, and Chummix Goat.

Ungulates (hooved animals) are prey animals and need to have a great field of vision to avoid being snuck up on by a predator while they’re grazing. The rectangular pupil of the sheep and goats allow them to see in nearly a full circle around them: 320-340 degrees! This has some disadvantages, though. The flattened pupil disallows goats and sheep to look upwards or downwards without raising or lowering their heads. This is why, if you reach out to pet a goat’s head, they’ll often step back and look up at your hand. They can’t see you when you’re directly above them.

optifade

© 2011 W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc.
Human versus Ungulate Field of Vision

Equine, cattle and pigs have large eyes with round pupils on the sides of their heads, which gives them around 300 degrees of vision but they can see a little better above and below their eye level than goats and sheep can. They still need to raise or lower their heads to gauge distance above and below eye level because depth perception exists only where the vision from both eyes cross. With one eye on each side of the head, the area in front of the animal where the vision crosses (called binocular vision) is fairly small: 20-60 degrees for sheep and goats, and 60 degrees for equine, cattle and pigs. These animals also have blind spots directly in front of their face and directly behind their back legs. This is why walking behind a horse or steer could get you hurt. They can hear you back there, but not see you. The animal may kick to protect itself.

Donkey and Steer

Lightning the Donkey and Max the Steer.

Predators don’t need to see all the way around their bodies as much as they need to be able to gauge distance in front of them. Humans and bears have eyes with round pupils on the front of their heads so that more of the vision from each eye overlaps and there’s a larger area of depth perception. Humans can see about 120 degrees around themselves but have 100 degrees of binocular vision.

bear human

Virginia bear and a human eye

Check out these other cool animal department eyes! Do you know to whom they belong?

more eyes

 

 

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  1. Great Post!

    Posted by kimberly
  2. Keeper Comment :

    It’s a little late, but I’ve got to correct my post slightly.

    It turns out that cattle have rectangular pupils like sheep and goats! I thought they were round because Max’s eyes are so dark brown that the black pupil is virtually indistinguishable from the iris. However, the sunlight caught Max’s eye just right and sure enough, he also has a rectangular pupil like the sheep and goats!

    Posted by Sarah Van de Berg

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by , Keeper
I graduated from NCSU(go pack) and have worked in the animal department for about 8 years. Some of my favorites include ferrets and birds. I am also known for my weird obsession with Boba Fett.
I work Tuesday-Saturday in either the Farmyard or inside the main building behind the scenes.
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A wool-ful good-bah

September 5th, 2012

This Saturday, we say good-bye to Mutton, Lambchop,Wilco and Woolworth Sheep. They are retiring to a farm where they will be able to graze and have a nice quiet retirement pasture.

I know that I will really miss them. The sheep have been here longer then I have been a keeper.As I have focused more of my keeping in the farm yard area, the sheep always are sure to greet me when they see me. They know I feed them their grain, hay and most importantly their watermelon!

If you stop by the farm yard to give them  “good baa” wishes look at the back of their enclosure. You can see that there is an area that is being cleared of trees and additional fencing is going up. This is to make way for our new alpaca exhibit opening in October.

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  1. I guess it was just SHEAR luck that brought these sheep here to have keepers that loved them so.

    Posted by Wendy
  2. The alpaca’s have some big HOOVES to fill….will we get updates/photos of the sheep in their new quiet retirement pasture?

    Posted by dj

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by , Keeper
I graduated from NCSU(go pack) and have worked in the animal department for about 8 years. Some of my favorites include ferrets and birds. I am also known for my weird obsession with Boba Fett.
I work Tuesday-Saturday in either the Farmyard or inside the main building behind the scenes.

It’s Sonny out again…

August 23rd, 2012

In February, I posted about our opossum Sonny going for a walk.  In March, Sonny went for another stroll and this time he made it all the way up to the farmyard.

Lightning and Sonny out for a stroll

The sheep are mesmerized

Inspecting a nice clean stall

Max and Sonny

 

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  1. I love this!

    Posted by Wendy
  2. Great Pictures!

    Posted by kimberly

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by , Keeper
I graduated from NCSU(go pack) and have worked in the animal department for about 8 years. Some of my favorites include ferrets and birds. I am also known for my weird obsession with Boba Fett.
I work Tuesday-Saturday in either the Farmyard or inside the main building behind the scenes.

Watermelons for the farm yard bunch

July 29th, 2012

Here is a video of the animals in the farm yard enjoying some watermelon. Its rare that everyone can agree on one food and watermelon seems to be it.

YouTube Preview Image

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  1. Fun music! Lightning has such great table manners!

    Posted by Kimberly
  2. Keeper Comment :

    First time I saw this video I thought the sheep had been put in fast motion. But no, that was their real speed. Wow!

    Posted by Marilyn Johnson

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

Naked Sheep

May 30th, 2012

Our sheep were sheared yesterday. Some photos below, as well as a video for those of you that cannot come see them in person. (Click on each photo to enlarge).

YouTube Preview Image 

 

David shears our sheep

 

getting the last bit of wool off

 

all done

 

35 pounds of wool from our 4 sheep

 

our four naked sheep

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by , Keeper
I'm extremely excited to be working at the Museum since October 2010. My favorite part of this job- besides working with the animals- is listening to all of the Keeper stories, I hear a new one each day. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, belly dancing, and vegan cooking.
I work Sunday through Thursday. I can be found mostly behind the scenes or training the Ring Tail Lemurs.

Soon to be destroyed

October 15th, 2011

Enrichment around here comes in all forms. Owls get goldfish, bears get trees stumps, jaybird gets corn husk, and so forth.  Every now and then we make fake sheep for the wolves. I thought Keeper Sarah’s fake sheep were particularly cute one afternoon and wanted to share with everyone.

 

 

It is Wolf Awareness Week- October 16th-22nd.

Join us at our 2pm Meet the Keeper program everyday at Wolf Overlook!

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by , Keeper
I'm extremely excited to be working at the Museum since October 2010. My favorite part of this job- besides working with the animals- is listening to all of the Keeper stories, I hear a new one each day. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, belly dancing, and vegan cooking.
I work Sunday through Thursday. I can be found mostly behind the scenes or training the Ring Tail Lemurs.

Sheep and Waffles

April 26th, 2011

It’s time to say goodbye to our wonderful interns, Casey and Jessica.  They have worked as keepers, with us, 3 days a week for 4 months- we will miss them!  Casey and Jessica are in the Zoo and Aquarium Science Program at Davidson County Community College.

On top of working and classes, the interns had to present an enrichment project.  They choose to create a teepee tree for the lemurs.  The goal of their creation was to increase social interaction among the Ring Tailed Lemurs.  You might see this item out in the lemur yard several times a week.

The lemur teepee tree

During their last week working with us, I figured it would be a wonderful time to ask them a ton of questions.  Aaron was a big help coming up with questions.

What is one your most preferred animal to work with and why?

Jessica- enjoys Box Turtle B because he is always eager to be social and he seems quite self-centered which I respect.

Jessica with her most preferred animal at the museum

Casey- prefers the Sheep because they are the ‘smartest’ animals at the museum- here is her reasoning- I can tell they are always thinking and one day we’re going to come into work and the whole place will be rearranged. The steer will be in the bear yard, bears in the duck pen, the pigs will be in the Butterfly house, so on and so forth.  But the sheep will be in their pen, just looking at you, you’ll know it was them but you’ll have no proof.  And this is why Casey thinks the sheep are the ‘smartest’ animals at the museum.

Casey feeding in the farm yard

What was your greatest challenge, as a keeper, here?

Casey- working with Megatron one of our pine snakes.

Jessica- super cleaning with Mikey cause he never stops talking.

What do you feel was your greatest reward?

Jessica- making the peanut butter pine cones as enrichment for the bears and then being able to watch the bears enjoy them the next day

Casey-  See the picture below- This was her greatest reward!!

Casey and Megatron

What was the hardest task you had to accomplish?

Casey- I had difficulty de-legging the crickets but has gotten over her fear.

Jessica-I had a hard time getting out the black rat and pine snake.

What are some skills you learned here that you will be able to take with you and apply to future positions?

Casey- Organization because everything is labeled in the kitchen and that is fabulous.

Jessica- Team work, you need to work with someone you trust, because you may work with someone that could drop branches on you during lemur super clean… not to say any names…Casey, or to warn you when your index finger is awful close to that alligator.

List a few of your “this is awesome” moments

Jessica-

- watching a training session in the bear house, Gus and Yona were climbing up on the doors of their bear stalls

- feeding from on top of the bear house

Jessica feeding from on top of the bear house

- when I became an ‘authority figure’ and asked our young visitors not to howl at the wolves, she’s very proud of her ability to step up and take charge

-  working with Lightning

Jessica and Lightening

Casey-

-spending 2 hours up on the bear cliff, keeping Virginia distracted, by feeding her raisins. (A boulder had fallen out from the access route the bear’s used to get up and down the cliff.  Leaving Virginia stuck up on the cliff.  Casey was able to keep Virginia nice and distracted so work could be done to the cliff.  Click on here, and scroll down to see some good bear cliff access pictures)

- when we were super cleaning the lemur house with Jill and Kimberly and couldn’t stop talking about waffles, so we all booked it to IHOP to celebrate a job well done (Kimberly’s side note- I will have you know, neither of them ordered waffles!!!)

Casey placing feeding baskets at Lemurs

What was your ah-ha moment that validated your choice of career?

Casey- when I can wake up at 5am and be happy about the work I’m getting ready to do and the keepers I get to spend my day with.

Jessica- when I know it’s super clean lemur day and it’s pouring outside and I’m still excited to come to work.

Casey and Jessica doing farmyard check

Casey’s question to Jessica- Are you satisfied with the partner you got for your internship here at the museum?

Jessica- I am very satisfied, she’s my partner in crime and she keeps me on my toes.  She makes me giggle with her crazy ideas and stories.

And Finally which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle would you be? And why?

Casey says Jessica will be Donatello because just like her, he’s very clever but under appreciated.

Without hesitation Casey would be Rafael because he’s serious and doesn’t mess around, he gets stuff done.

flickr.com

On a serious note Casey and Jessica would like to say-

This is the best learning experience to date.  With our new found skills and training by the keepers here at the Museum of Life and Science, we feel we will go into our summer internships with confidence!

Cowabunga Dude!

Join the conversation:

  1. Great post, Kimberly! The interns really WERE awesome and I’m glad I had the chance to get to know them too, and to work with them. We won’t easily forget them because they gave the department a quacking duck soap dispenser for the kitchen as their farewell gift.

    Posted by Karyn
  2. Isnt lemur super clean this week?

    Posted by jebrown
  3. Great post! You have the best post titles that always make me read on eagerly.

    Posted by Erin Brown
  4. very nice how many interns work at the museum

    Posted by Betty Linkenhoker
  5. Director Comment :

    Our number of interns changes and we don’t always have any in the animal department. This was the first time we’ve ever had 2 at the same time. There can be intrns in other parts of the Museum too. Currently there is an intern in Investigate Health: http://ncmls.org/visit/campus-and-exhibits/exhibits/investigate-health.

    Posted by Sherry Samuels
  6. Keeper Comment :

    Hi Mom,
    Thanks for reading. :)

    Posted by Kimberly Lawson

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by , Keeper
I have been working at the museum since 2003, and I feel fortunate to have a job where I can start my day with amazing animals surrounding me. I enjoy camping, hiking and rock climbing in my spare time when the weather is nice.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and spend a lot of time behind the scenes, but you might find me at a public program or feeding the farmyard animals in the afternoon.

Creature Feature: Wilco the Florida Gulf Coast Sheep

February 10th, 2009

Wilco is one of five sheep living in our farmyard. She is the easiest sheep to identify because she is the smallest and has a black spot on her nose. Of our five sheep, there are two mothers, two daughters (one to each mother) and a male (whom is not related to, nor the father of, the other sheep). Wilco is one of our mothers. Surprisingly enough, both of the mother sheep are significantly smaller than their daughters!

Wilco was born in December of 2000 at a farm in North Carolina, so she is just over 8 years old. From there, she came to the museum in June of 2002 with her newborn baby, Mutton. Wilco is the sheep that is most likely to approach the fence if you are standing there. Even though our sheep have been around people all their lives, they are still quite skiddish of visitors as well as the keepers. They like to stay together, which is an instinctive “flock” behavior for sheep. Being prey animals, they are less vulnerable to predators if they stay in a close circle and move as a unit. By staying in a flock, the animals in the middle of the circle are safe, and it is much more difficult for a predator to single out a specific animal to kill. For this reason, sheep can become stressed out if they are separated from their flock. Occassionally we witness this with our sheep when we have to catch one of them so that they can be examined by a veterinarian.

Another characteristic that helps sheep stay safe from predators is their amazing peripheral vision. Sheep have pupils that are slit-shaped and allow them to see anywhere from 270 degrees to 320 degrees around them! This means that sheep can see things behind them without even turning their heads. However, they do not have good depth perception, so fluctuations and dips in the ground can prove more difficult for them than for most animals.

Being native to the Gulf Coast of Florida means that these sheep are well adapted to warm weather. When the hot days of June come, many visitors worry that the thick coat of wool they have will cause them to overheat. On the contrary, the wool has the opposite effect. In actuality, the wool helps to repel the rays of the sun and keep cooler temperatures closer to their body. So while we are feeling the effects of the hot weather, the sheep are laying out in the sun and still cooler than we are! For this reason, the benefits of getting our sheep sheared once a year has more to do with health and cleanliness than it does weather. And even though we don’t use their wool for clothing, it still serves a good purpose by becoming enrichment for our other animals.

You can watch a video of our sheep being sheared from last year, as well as read a previous post about how much our sheep enjoy receiving Russian-olive (an invasive leafy shrub) as a treat and enrichment item.

The information in this post can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheep

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