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Baarack The Rescued Sheep Yields 75 Pounds Of Wool After First Shearing In Years

Animals are wonderful to have around, but they're also a lot of work. As the person responsible for maintaining clean litter boxes in this house, I know of what I speak. I'd like to imagine it as an act of love for them, but even I can't fool myself with that. It's just stinky and gross and necessary.

But the cats aren't completely reliant on us humans. Left to their own devices in the wild, generally speaking, unless they're as pampered and hopelessly domesticated as our furry little royalty, they'll get by. And at the least, they'll never miss litter boxes.

Farm animals, however, need their humans just a bit more and it's seldom been as evident as with a sheep named Baarack.

Baarack used to be a regular farm sheep.

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But he was found roaming on his own in a forest in Australia by a private citizen who contacted a nearby sanctuary — Edgar's Mission Farm Sanctuary — to come and rescue the poor, overgrown animal.

Workers at the Mission couldn't say for sure how long he'd been out on his own

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But, as the Mission's Kyle Behrend told Reuters, he had definitely been owned at some point.

"He had at one time been ear-tagged, however these appear to have been torn out by the thick matted fleece around his face," Behrend said.

In his time out in the wild, Baarack obviously didn't get his regular shearing.

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"Sheep need to be shorn at least annually otherwise the fleece continues to grow and grow, as happened here," Behrend explained.

It's not just a matter of having too much wool — according to North Dakota State University, overgrown sheep are at greater risk of developing infections due to matted dirt and manure and urine, and they have a harder time regulating their body temperature. It can be a dangerous situation for them.

And so, the task of shearing poor Baarack befell the team at Edgar's Mission.

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Normally, a sheep can be shorn in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately, Baarack had grown so wild and woolly that even the pros at the Mission needed almost an hour to remove all the fleece.

When all was said and done, they had removed about 35 kg (77 pounds) of wool.

Such large masses of wool aren't unheard of.

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In fact, in 2015, a Merino sheep rescued in Australia named Chris bore an astounding 41.1 kg (90 lbs) of wool when he finally got sheared.

But as Little Oak Sanctuary — which cared for Chris following his rescue — underscored, that's not a record anybody wants a sheep to have.

"This is no title to covet, as it amounts to being the most neglected sheep in the world," they said in 2019, following Chris's passing, according to USA Today.

Needless to say, the shearing experience was immediately transformative for Baarack.

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Pam Ahren at Edgar's Mission told News 9 that his first few steps after the shearing were wobbly.

"As soon as the wool came off him and he took his first steps, he was like, 'Whoa, what's going on here,'" she said.

After his ordeal, which left him underweight as well, Baarack is settling in well at Edgar's Mission.

And Baarack did have a lot to recover from. In addition to being underweight, his vision suffered as well, with fleece obscuring his vision, dirt and debris "pooling in the gap between his cornea and the lid," and a grass seed causing an ulcer there, too.

But, although he obviously went neglected for an extended period of time, Baarack isn't completely worse for wear. The sanctuary said that time spent running over rocks in the wild has actually left Baarack's hooves in good condition.

All in all, it's safe to say that Baarack's life improved thanks to the citizen who alerted Edgar's Mission.

No longer neglected, the team at Edgar's Mission is taking good care of their new charge, but they put it down to the sort of animal Baarack is.

Behrend said that it "all goes to show what incredibly resilient and brave animals sheep really are and we could not love them any more if we tried."

h/t: Reuters