UK Extension Agent comes to rescue for Cincinnati Zoo’s babydoll sheep long overdue for shearing


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By Aimee Nielson
University of Kentucky

Sweet Pea and Snappy have been entertaining and educating Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden visitors for more than a decade, but it is almost summer season and summer season is hot. These two English babydoll sheep had been carrying a significant load and overdue for a shearing.

British isles Extension Agent Regina Utz shears Sweet Pea, an English babydoll sheep, with Cincinnati Zoo’s Remy Romaine

Mary Abbott, team chief for the Cincinnati Children’s Zoo, Purple Pandas and Roo Valley, has worked at the zoo for extra than 30 several years. The workforce often lead the sheep close to the zoo to satisfy site visitors and train them about wool. But she said finding an individual to shear the sheep has been a challenge, primarily in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, so she and her employees resorted to shearing the sheep themselves.

“We are not experienced shearers and our curator suggested we get hold of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service to see if we could come across a person,” she stated.

Via the extension connections, the zoo uncovered Regina Utz, a Kentucky 4-H alumna and new Kentucky Cooperative Extension agent for agriculture and pure sources in Trimble County.

Utz grew up in 4-H showing sheep and rabbits as nicely as beef cattle, dairy cattle, ducks, goats and hogs. She was honored to vacation to Cincinnati to help Sweet Pea and Snappy lose their thick, wool coats.

“These two sheep appear like they will be tremendous chill and I imagine they’ll be seriously simple,” Utz said prior to commencing the process. “Their wool is a tiny long, but with a minor time, we’ll get it cleaned up and have no issues.”

Utz enlisted the assistance of her sister Renora Utz and Cincinnati Children’s Zoo staffer Remy Romaine. Regina Utz explained most sheep have to have at least one haircut per yr, potentially two.

Sweet Pea immediately after her haircut. (Photo by Brian Volland, UK Agricultural Communications Professional)

“We like to do it in early spring and then a very little bit later on in the center of the summer,” Regina Utz stated.

Abbott and her colleagues ended up happy to observe the transformation unfold.

“We are definitely thrilled to study from Regina,” Abbott mentioned. “She’s in there washing sheep correct now and she’s blowing our head mainly because just about every sheep shearer we have worked with has said they have to be dry. So, Regina already is displaying us a little something new. My entire group is in this article just to observe and inquire issues. And we’re just really energized that we have this option to operate with (United kingdom Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Setting) to assist our sheep get haircuts this yr.”

Abott stated Sweet Pea and Snappy glance incredible and will be ready to keep on becoming zoo ambassadors with a minimal extra pep in their step.

By Harriet