19 August 2011

Twins

Have you ever seen the movie Twins?  It's one of those goofy, predictable movies from the '80's featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito as twin brothers.  Totally believable, right?

Well, apparently that kind of thing can happen in real life, as evidenced by my rams, Magnus and Cardigan.
At first glance, the boys are obviously different.  One black, one white--neither shade uncommon in Shetland sheep (Yeah, Shetland, like Shetland ponies or Shetland sheep dogs--that's why they were tiny enough to live in a dog pen while they were young until we could get something more permanent for them.  Those Scandinavian Vikings liked their animals small for some reason).

Were I to relate Magnus and Cardigan to Arnold and Danny, Magnus is definitely an Arnold.

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And poor Cardigan is a Danny.


Though they are twin brothers--born from the same mother at the same time and everything--there was always something never really right about Cardigan.  He was a runt, much smaller than Magnus and his horns didn't grow at the right angle.  You can see below how, instead of coiling up and around the outside of his head, they kind of look deflated and curl right back into his neck.
Their coming to us was a bit unexpected.  After an unfortunate accident their mother had, the two needed to be bottle fed by their original owner, though it was only a temporary solution for him.  He was already busy running a ranch and teaching at Iowa State University so feeding squirming little lambs every few hours wasn't ideal.  The accident happened when Magnus and Cardigan's mother fell and got wedged upside down in a crevice.  She wasn't discovered for a few days and by then, her milk supply had dried up.  Rather than send the tiny lambs to slaughter, their owner took pity on them and they were gifted to us.
I think of all the animals we've had here--horses, chickens, ducks, sheep and cats--the sheep are on the lower end of the maintenance spectrum.  They eat relatively little for their size because, being ruminants, they are efficient digesters, and after we indulged in a pair of electric shears, their bi-annual haircuts take less than an hour.  Though the boys are different in everything from looks to personality, they've been a lot of fun for us and our girls.

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