Lost Australian sheep yields 42kg of fleece

2015-09-03 07:49

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Canberra - An overgrown sheep found lost in Australian scrubland was shorn for perhaps the first time on Thursday, yielding 42kg of wool, the shearer said.

The woolly coat dwarfs that of New Zealand's hermit ram dubbed Shrek who took six years to grow his massive fleece that weighed 27kg when it was clipped in 2004. Shrek was often described as a record.

Champion shearer Ian Elkins said the bulky Australian merino sheep, dubbed Chris, appeared to be in good condition after being separated from his huge fleece under anesthetic.

"We've smashed Shrek's record of 27kg, no dramas," Elkins told Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"I don't reckon he's been shorn before and I reckon he'd be five or six years old," he said.

Chris was found near Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary outside Canberra by bushwalkers who feared he would not survive the approaching southern summer. He was found several km from the nearest sheep farm. A bushwalker named him Chris after the sheep in the "Father Ted" television comedy series.

The castrated ram was rescued by the RSPCA and taken to Canberra where he was shorn under anesthetic because of he was stressed by human company and because of the potential pain from the heavy fleece tearing skin as it fell away.

Tammy Ven Dange, the Canberra RSPCA chief executive, said Chris would be found a new home after vets gave him an all-clear.

Elkins said the fleece had suffered from the harsh woodland environment.

"I wouldn't say its high quality, but you wouldn't expect it to be running around in the bush that long unshorn," he said.

Australian merinos are breed for wool and are shorn annually, with fleeces averaging about 5kg.

Read more on:    australia  |  animals

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