Saturday, January 4, 2014

Sheep and mountain goats, and some adorablosity

Okay, now that I'm back here at school with access to the Internet, time to put that Animal Husbandry class I took a while ago to some use!

First, I'm going to say something that you all are welcome to disregard, after all no one really cares about terminology I guess but just in case, because I am a nerd: A "ram" is the term for a male sheep, not the breed. Females are ewes, and babies are lambs. And as for goats, males are billies or bucks, females are nannies or does, and babies are kids. Many of you already knew this. Some of you did not. Now you do. Does this impact the film at all? No. But there you go.

People have already put some great posts on sheep/goat anatomy reference. I'm guessing that we're going to be using bighorn sheep as our main reference (and we kind of have been), but I was thinking it might be cool to still look at some other species of alpine-dwelling caprids as well. Hopefully some of it's useful!

For example, mountain goats:

Or the chamois, a breed of not-quite-goat native to Europe (sorry for low quality images):

But mostly, the Alpine Ibex:

Also do note anatomical differences between sheep and goats. They're similar but not exactly alike, and it's not just because goats suck and sheep are remarkably okay. Notably, goat tails stick up and are short. Sheep tails lay down flat, and are long- domestic sheep have their tails docked for sanitary reasons. The lips of sheep are also divided by that line that comes down from the nose (the Internet tells me this is called a philtrum), while goat lips are not. Goats are also often bearded, sheep are not. And I don't imagine we'll be going this detailed, but for trivia's sake, ewes have four nipples and goats have two. Also, sheep smell better than goats (see earlier comment about the suckage of goats- billy goats urinate on their own horns, it's a sexual dominance thing). The more you know!

In domestic sheep breeds, here are a couple that have cool horns. The Wiltshire Horn:

and my favorite breed of sheep, the Jacob sheep, which usually has four horns but can grow as many as six:

Haha. Look at how stupid his face is. 

And last but not least, I found this and I think it's adorable:

Now as part of that aforementioned Animal Husbandry class, we went on a field trip. One of our destinations was a lambing operation. All of these pictures are pretty low-quality and some are REALLY blurry, but I'm including them because maybe they could be helpful? Also these are pretty cute lambs.

PLEASE NOTE at the end I'm including some pictures of lambs which are mere minutes old- meaning that the afterbirth is present and prominent in these photos (and a video), so, BLOODY MESS WARNING. Scroll past if you need to, these are the last pictures I'm including in this post. Anyway, I thought those ones (and the video) would be useful for observing mother/lamb interactions.

Big floppy ears and pretty much made of clouds.


(for any who may be curious, the yellow lamb got stuck in the womb and had to be pulled out, which I think may be why it's not quite able to stand up yet. It did stand after I put my camera away though!)

And here's the promised video- super low resolution again, but hopefully you can still tell what's going on. Mother/baby interactions, also, adorable little stumbles. It is so crazy how these things just stand up and walk right out of the womb.

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