By Luke Voogt
Abandoned sheep ‘Ewenice’ had an enormous 20kg of extra wool when RSPCA inspectors discovered her roaming the bush near Bendigo in July.
The ewe, now living happily in Bannockburn, had no flock or owner when found, and local knowledge suggested she had not been shorn for four years.
Through shear effort, inspectors discovered the sheep alive and wool in a heavily-wooded area and gave her much-needed haircut, yielding a whopping 20kg of fleece.
After veterinary checks, Ewenice was transported to live with a Bannockburn farmer, who wished not be identified.
The freshly-shorn sheep is now living with her new flock and can look forward to more regular grooming, according to RSPCA.
Sheep specifically-bred for wool production require regular shearing because their fleece grows continuously and they cannot shed, RSPCA head of inspectorate Terry Ness explained.
He said without shearing they could suffer from poor health and hygiene.
In severe cases, excess wool impeded their ability to regulate their body temperature, which could cause them to overheat and occasionally die, Mr Ness said.
“Carrying such a large fleece for an extended period of time would have had dire impact on this ewe’s welfare and quality of life.
“It was fantastic to see her transformation after shearing and to send her on to her new home.”
Sheep like Ewenice are typically shorn at least once a year, usually in spring.
Mr Ness encouraged anyone with concerns about the welfare of an animal to phone RSPCA Victoria’s inspectorate on 9224 2222 or visit rspcavic.org.