The Chubby Club

 

The sheep are impossibly fat.

It’s no contest. They’ve earned the title of fattest creatures on the farm.

Granted, the horses are portly. Bugsy and one of the horses each graze with a muzzle — a nylon mesh bucket with a rubber bottom, and a quarter-sized hole through which to eat.

The cats take the bronze medal. Frog is especially waddle worthy (yes, a cat named “Frog”). Each time she slinks in the barn, I fear she’s pregnant though I know she’s spayed.

But Frog is twiggy compared to the sheep.

We haven’t been up close to the sheep since late fall. Then last Sunday, Martin and I rounded them up for a hoof trimming session.

“Sweet Jesus,” I whispered to Martin.

It was hard to tell where bulging torsos ended and spindly legs began. Each looked like a jumbo marshmallow, teetering on toothpicks.

The five of them barely squeezed into their corral chute. In fact Blackie — in an effort to evade handling — pressed his fat against the fencing and popped two boards loose.

(I should note that the sheep’s heftiness greatly hampered hoof trimming. They threw their weight around, trampling, squeezing and shoving Martin. He was smeared with mud and even peed on — one of the ewes urinated on his hand when he grabbed a hind leg….That last detail is unrelated to the topic, but was funny as hell.)

So the sheep are overweight. What to do? It’s hard to cut consumption. They receive no grain or hay and are cordoned off in a small pasture.

The accused, angled to optimize slimness.

 

I searched “obese sheep” and “fat sheep need to lose weight” on the web, but discovered nothing novel or noteworthy.

“Regulate supplementary feed,” advised owners on various forums.  “Increase your sheep’s exercise.”

Increase exercise? I thought. What am I supposed to do, sign them up for the gym? Teach them yoga?

There’s Maisie, of course. She’s eager to chase them, but that’s a hit-or-miss exercise regimen.

Before giving up, I searched the web for a sheep version of the horse grazing muzzle.

And — surprise — such products exist.  But they’re marketed to prevent sheep from eating bedding or biting other animals. They’re not designed for weight loss or 24-hour use.

And after viewing photos of the products, I think I’d rather the sheep die fat and happy than wear Hannibal Lecter headgear.  

Behold, protection when handling serial killer sheep:

 

 

Just spare me the Silence of the Lambs jokes…