Warrook Cattle Farm ~ AustraliaPosted on Apr 04 in Australiaby ShelynPrint
Visiting Australia is like traveling in paradise. Vast expanse of grassland, magnificent scene of rising layers of mountain peaks, innumerable goats and cows casually eating grass on a green prairie are all common scenes in Australia. The goats here in Australia reminded me of my school exam time, I always had difficult time to fall asleep a day before exam. In order to force myself to sleep without taking any drug (yeah.. some of friends actually drank cough medicine to sleep) I counted sheep. 1 sheep 2 sheep 3 sheep 4 sheep… the more I counted, the more energetic I was and finally I concluded the count sheep method failed big time.
Even though the sheep failed to carry out their duty to put me to sleep, I still like sheep a lot. Simply because I was born in Sheep year according to Chinese Horoscope. Hence, being up close to the sheep became my main itinerary in Australia trip.
We made a pit stop at Warrook Cattle Farm in Victoria, Australia on the way to Phillip Island. It’s 100 year old heritage homestead housing sheep and cows. We were first brought to sheep pen to watch sheep shearing demonstration. There were about 10 sheep kept inside the pen ready to be sheared. The shearer was an old chap who looked quite physically strong in his age. He explained to us that each adult sheep is typically shorn once each year. Sheep are shorn in all seasons, depending on the climate, management requirements and the availability of a woolclasser and shearers.
Shearing sheep is an arduous occupation involving a range of physically demanding tasks. The shearer first caught and tipped the sheep from the pen. As a natural reaction, the sheep struggled and tried to escape. The shearer exerted himself to drag the sheep into position. He secured the sheep tight in between his legs and started removing its fleece with electric shear.
The sheep had calmed down a bit after 30 seconds of struggling. The shearer was pretty skillfull that it took about 5 minutes to remove the fleece in one piece.
I actually felt quite sad for the sheep. The sheep looked so helpless as if it had surrendered its fate to the shearer, or rather, human. It was like “whatever… you want my wool, just take it… what can I do? I’m just too weak to fight back”.
Freshly shorn sheep need protection from the elements. It takes up to six weeks for the fleece to regrow sufficiently to provide effective insulation. Sheared sheep also require more feed to maintain their body temperatures, especially during the winter. I hope they are well taken care of as they looked so weak after shorn. The shearer explained that the freshly shorn sheep is fine as its body produces grease or “lanolin” that will heal any wound or pain resulted from shearing process.
After sheep shearing demonstration, the chap brought us to a wide green field with stockwhips hanging in the middle of the field. He then picked up one of the whips and cracked the whip. It created a very loud gunshot sound that shocked every visitor and made a little girl ran to her mum. Before we realized what had happened, he cracked for a few more times to create a series of gunshot sound. We then couldn’t wait to grab ourselves a whip and started flipping the cracker to the air and hit it hard to the ground repeatedly just to realize it was almost an impossible mission to create any sound. I stopped
playing cracking when my arm started to ache.
The riddle about how the whip cracks lingered in my mind until I back to Malaysia and decided to ask my friend, Ms. Google (I like Google as a she). So why a whip cracks? It is all to do with the release of stored energy, at a rate beyond the speed of sound. It is the loop itself that generates the sonic boom. Should get myself a whip to scare bad people away.
Me trying hard to crack the whip
Gave up on whip cracking, we went for cow feeding, easier.
Not sure what is so fun about cow feeding, but since everyone fed, we fed.
Working dog demonstration
The cattle farm treats every animal fairly. Regardless what animals they are, all of them have chance to demonstrate, the dog was no exception.
The working dog was trained to herd the sheep.
And finally, after being fed with milk, the cow was obligated to offer her udder for demonstration. Each of us took turn to milk the cow. Poor cow…
Farming to me, a Malaysian city girl, is something that only exists in the countryside. To finally experience it was a memorable adventure to me. I suddenly had this funny thought that should I want to learn more about farming and sheep management, would there be any courses online I could sign up for? So I asked my friend, Ms. Google, again. To my surprise, there are plenty of the related online courses.
More information about Warrook Cattle Farm: