Saturday, June 2, 2012

Donkey dreadlocks

Like the alpacas of Tuesday, there are some donkeys that needed a trim. When I learned about the 7 at Norley Farm receiving the 1st haircuts they have had in 17 years, I went to the website's gallery and identified Nestor (photos above, before and after). He is a Poitevin donkey, from the rare French breed Baudet du Poitou, the numbers of which dipped to only 44 worldwide in the late 1970s. Their shaggy coats - known as cadanettes - were left ungroomed* to grow into dreads. As it grew long, matted, and tangled, so grew their value as champion livestock and as curiosities. The goal of the Norley Farm, which is in Lymington, Hampshire, UK, is as follows: "Our aim is to help bring this magnificent breed back from the brink of extinction, producing animals not only with true Poitou characteristics, but also with great temperaments." They breed the rare beasts, and shear their distinctive hair only to keep them comfortable in the heat. "It's not very nice being sweaty when you are this hairy," says owner Annie Pollock. Possessing a third of the 75 Poitevins in the U.K. (there are less than 1,000 worldwide), she wants to keep Nestor and the rest comfy.

*In contrast, the ropy coats of the komondor and puli dogs require considerable care.
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