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

By Aimee Nielson
College of Kentucky

Sweet Pea and Snappy have been entertaining and educating Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden visitors for a lot more than a decade, but it is just about summertime and summertime is scorching. These two English babydoll sheep were being carrying a weighty load and overdue for a shearing.

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

Mary Abbott, team leader for the Cincinnati Children’s Zoo, Crimson Pandas and Roo Valley, has worked at the zoo for additional than 30 a long time. The staff regularly guide the sheep around the zoo to meet up with site visitors and teach them about wool. But she stated obtaining an individual to shear the sheep has been a obstacle, particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, so she and her employees resorted to shearing the sheep themselves.

“We are not professional shearers and our curator advised we make contact with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service to see if we could discover an individual,” she mentioned.

Through the extension connections, the zoo located Regina Utz, a Kentucky 4-H alumna and new Kentucky Cooperative Extension agent for agriculture and natural assets in Trimble County.

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

“These two sheep seem like they will be tremendous chill and I consider they’ll be really quick,” Utz stated prior to commencing the undertaking. “Their wool is a minor prolonged, but with a minor time, we’ll get it cleaned up and have no difficulties.”

Utz enlisted the assist of her sister Renora Utz and Cincinnati Children’s Zoo staffer Remy Romaine. Regina Utz explained most sheep require at minimum a single haircut for each calendar year, perhaps two.

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

“We like to do it in early spring and then a small little bit afterwards in the middle of the summer time,” Regina Utz mentioned.

Abbott and her colleagues were being delighted to enjoy the transformation unfold.

“We are genuinely psyched to understand from Regina,” Abbott reported. “She’s in there washing sheep suitable now and she’s blowing our thoughts mainly because each and every sheep shearer we’ve labored with has stated they have to be dry. So, Regina presently is exhibiting us anything new. My complete workforce is below just to observe and inquire queries. And we’re just seriously fired up that we have this option to get the job done with (Uk Faculty of Agriculture, Food stuff and Setting) to enable our sheep get haircuts this yr.”

Abott stated Sweet Pea and Snappy glimpse incredible and will be capable to carry on staying zoo ambassadors with a minor much more pep in their move.