Finally and at last, the ice on the pond has thawed and birds have returned. It’s our spring break.

My elderly, domestic ducks waddle off to the pond with a very officious gait, business-like in their bathing.  They quack around with wild ducks, exchanging opinions. Mine are easy to tell apart, they swim much lower in the water and act like they own the place.  They return to the yard in late afternoon for dinner- the old gelding shares his with them. It has been a long, frozen winter and geriatric ducks are as happy for spring as any of us.

Our goats have a moth-eaten look, like a toy that’s losing its stuffing just behind the ears. They sleep in the sun all day- shedding takes all their energy and concentration. They aren’t so young anymore either.

The llamas don’t shed a whisker, preferring to wait for a spa day in late spring. We all head together into the stock trailer with clippers, coming out a couple of hours later looking fresh and thin. (Well, me- not so fresh and layered in wool.)  The shearing is always followed by a wild bucking romp in the pasture. They go off like popcorn- head, legs and body all exploding in opposite directions.

Donkeys are very conservative about shedding. They would never consider dropping a hair this early- anything could happen between now and summer. Just not prudent! They don’t like being caught nearly naked at the first frost either. Last to shed and first to get a winter coat means there are only 3 or 4 days in early august when they are shed out and sleek. Being shed-conservative probably has its good side, but it’s lost on the rest of us.

Horses are the simple ones. They are like giant house cats, shedding everywhere and all the time. You can trace their path; where they lay down, where they scratch, every step- the shed out hair leaves a breadcrumb trail.

And as for me, I dream that science finds some incredible health benefit from ingesting animal hair. And I try to wear fleece everyday so that I can personally break the fall of all of those poor hairs- not to plunge all the way to the ground at once.

I’m itching for less dramatic/erratic weather and shedding my winter doldrums by planning my summer events. Woo-hoo! Winter is over and we all survived it.

Here is some relaxed and forward advice from Dr. Suess, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Anna Blake, Infinity Farm

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Comment by Mary Ginn on March 26, 2011 at 6:53pm
Enjoyed your blog and comments.  It made me laugh!
Comment by Marlene Thoms on March 25, 2011 at 10:05pm
My Arab has his own idea of how to manage a winter coat. He started shedding in Feb. (unusually cold this year at -19 C). When the first patch of mud turned up with the melt, he wallowed in it, even though there was plenty of nice clean snow to roll in. That was to make me go out each day and chip off the inch thick black clay,( incidentally he gets rid of shedding hair). He is white of course. By now he just does his daily dust bath,and is almost finished shedding.
Comment by MagsNMe on March 25, 2011 at 12:14pm

We have an old mare who is half clyde who grows enough hair for about three horses.  Clumps of hair end up in her bedding.  We bought her a scotch comb (for cattle, actually), and oh she loves it.  Took a muck bucket full of hair out of her.  She was very appreciative, in her excessively dignified way. 


Please let me know if you do find that health benefit....

Comment by Lee Kelly on March 25, 2011 at 10:26am

Great blog!!  Thoroughly enjoyed!  I always seem to make the mistake of applying my lip chap just before going into the barn which then attracts all kinds of hair to my lips. pppiiiittttthhhhhh, and you cannot wipe with your hands, or use your sleeve because both of those options are wearing more horse hair than your horse.  

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