A Tunis Sheep Craft, not such a baa-aa-aa-ad idea!
The lambs are born with brown fleece which turns white as they age.
Who would want to raise an animal that wears a wool coat for most of the year? Not here in the Lowcountry with our heat and humidity, you may think. Sheep are to be raised in a cooler climate, right? Not always! Tunis sheep originated in North Africa, Tunisia to be exact. So, this breed was used to living in a climate very similar to ours.
The first Tunis sheep were given as a gift to George Washington, our first president. They are one of the oldest breeds of livestock in America. They were almost wiped out during the Civil War, if it were not for a man named Maynard Spigener. He hid his flock on his land by the Congoree River near Columbia, South Carolina.
One of the reasons people raise sheep is to use their fleece to make clothes. If you wear wool socks or sweaters in the winter, that fiber came from sheep. Men and women have been spinning wool for making clothes for hundreds of years. The sheep get a haircut usually in early spring. The fleece is washed and brushed out in preparation for spinning into yarn.
Here at Brookgreen Gardens, we are fortunate to have several Tunis sheep in our animal collection at the Floyd Domestic Animals of the Plantation exhibit. They get sheared once a year, and their wool is used by local spinners to make yarn for scarves, socks, and sweaters!
Here are the girls after they have been sheared!
The Lowcountry Spinners, a group of ladies that spin fleece into yarn.
Make your own Tunis sheep
We made this sheep using the wool from a sheep. But you can make one using cotton balls.
Cotton balls and glue
Print out the picture of the sheep or draw your own sheep.
Use cotton balls in place of the wool, and glue them onto the picture of the sheep.
Create a flock of sheep. With just one or more, reciting nursery rhymes or stories or singing songs about sheep will not be a baa-aa-aa-ad idea!