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Hair today, gone tomorrow

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 Spring is the season of new life, of lengthening days and lifting moods… and hair.

At our place there is an abundance of hair. As the weather begins to warm up, the animals shed their thick coats which have insulated them from the freezing conditions over winter. Left to their own devises they eventually lose their hair but I like to give them a helping hand, simply because it makes them feel so good to get rid of it. You can tell when an animal enjoys something – they have very expressive faces. They also move their body appreciatively to your brush strokes, arching their back and twisting into different positions to show you the parts which need more attention. And when it’s over they roll and shake and then look at you and in their own special language say ‘thank-you’.

Duncan enjoying a neck rub

Duncan enjoying a neck rub

For these reasons I find grooming a very satisfying activity. It’s nice to be able to do something for someone who can’t do it for themselves. And it is one of the rare moments when I am completely connected to the animal on a subconscious level.  But it is also a very relaxing, almost meditative activity for me. I drift away and think a thousand thoughts. I reflect,  contemplate and plan. Today while Kelsea was helping me she kept complaining that she kept getting hair in her mouth and how come I never did? I told her truthfully that it was because she never stops talking and this was one of the times when maybe she should. She laughed and agreed with me.

All animals are different, even when it comes to hair. It never ceases to amaze me how I can brush Marlee for half an hour and get only a meagre amount of hair off him, then he walks inside and drops big golden clumps everywhere. I am trying hard to persuade him and the cats that I should just vacuum them instead and then cut out half my workload. They don’t seem to be convinced.

The pigs are one animal who don’t seem to be moulting at the moment but then, they do not have much hair…well Duncan anyway. Patch and Simon seem to have grown quite thick, bristly coats and we brush them regularly because they love it. Pigs are very tactile animals, they love physical contact and will always come running for a pat and a scratch. I use a household scrubbing brush to get amongst the bristles and loosen the dead skin.

A scratch for Patch

A scratch for Patch

Nina our Chianina cow doesn’t look like she has that much hair until you start brushing her and then it comes out in thick white matts. I have trouble reaching the top of her back as she is so tall but I do the best I can. The horses, especially Kitty are loaded with hair and it takes quite a few weeks to get rid of it all. The only exception is Monty, the ex police horse. Having arrived here (clipped) in August, he immediately began the process of growing a thick coat and shows no sign of shedding. I think it will take him a year to get his body clock in sync again.  And finally the alpacas will be shorn soon – usually the second week in November. Like Nina it is surprising how much wool that actually have on them and how strange they look naked.



It really is a wonderful time of year. Everyone including the animals seems to be revitalized. There is a spring in their step and a twinkle in their eye, even the oldies. But of course just as the last remnants of their thick coats are shed, Murphy’s law decrees that the weather must turn and we have a final blast of winter.

So as I said, it is hair today, gone tomorrow but one thing is certain, it will all grow back and we’ll do the same thing again next year.

Red leaving behind all his hair

Red leaving behind all his hair

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