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2000 Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival
Photo Album


Animals

Angora Goats -  Sheep -  Alpaca -  Angora Rabbits

Angora Goats

Because I hope to raise Angora goats one day, I spent a bit more time in the goat tent. I came away with a few interesting factoids: Goats are susceptible to lice, they have no upper teeth, they love yogurt, and they won't recognize one another after they've been shorn.

Sheep

What would a sheep and wool festival be without sheep?
This sweet Shetland sheep is from Stonehaven Farm in Cornish, New Hampshire. I talked with Lois Moore, who runs the farm along with her husband Brook. She obviously adores her sheep. 

Angora goat
She explained that Shetlands are actually very hearty sheep that can survive out in the pastures year round, even in New Hampshire. But she can't bear to leave them out at night ("I like to pamper my sheep," she confessed to me in a whispering smile). Sheep

Her sheep, which are small and compact, have distinct personalities just like people. One, for example, will get jealous if her attention goes elsewhere, trotting up and nudging her on the leg as if to say, "Hey, it's my turn!"

Shetland sheep

Elaine Clark brought several of her Frelsi Farm Icelandic sheep to the show. These are small but highly prized animals with luxurious dual-coated fleece in beautiful colors. Unfortunately they're also a bit camera shy. This guy tucked his head away at the last minute, but I did manage to get a shot of his gorgeous fleece.


Alpacas
Alpacas may look like extraterrestrials at first, but they're sweet and docile animals. They have a gestation period of almost an entire year. And their fiber is softer than cashmere.


Alpaca
You'll see many more Alpaca farms spring up in this country, and here's why: There's big money in Alpaca. Good breeding animals will often go for upwards of $25,000 apiece. So not only is the fiber valuable, but the animals themselves are also in short supply.

Les Foshay, of Champlain Valley Alpacas, brought this teenage alpaca out into the sunshine for a chat with the kids. It was my first direct encounter with an Alpaca, and I was smitten. 

Les and his wife also run a small bed and breakfast on the farm, so if you're interested in Alpacas, consider paying his farm a visit. (Champlain Valley Alpacas & Farm Stay is located at 326 Fiddler Lane in Bridport, Vermont. The phone number is 802-758-FARM.)

Angora Rabbits

I've never been fond of rabbits, but I'm addicted to Angora fiber. So I decided to give the Love Your Buns Angora Rabbitry booth more than just a cursory glance. Almost an hour later, I had to be rescued from the tent before I plunked down my cash and said, "I do!"

Angora rabbits
I learned that Angora rabbits are different than the traditional rabbits you see in pet stores at Easter. Because they need to be brushed so that they don't become seriously ill (unlike cats, rabbits can't cough up fur balls), Angora rabbits are more accustomed to, and friendly toward, people.

Second, Angora rabbits can provide companionship. The rabbitry owner adores these animals like a protective mother. She had no qualms about scolding anybody -- children or adults alike -- who ignored the "please don't touch" signs and stuck their fingers into the cages. 

Perhaps the most amazing testament to their personalities was a photo of her rabbit curled up on the couch with her dog. "I went to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee, and when I came back they were cuddled up together!" she exclaimed. "I had to take a picture because I knew nobody would ever believe me!"

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