17th September 2005
Melbourne was aptly named “Melbourne” as he came to Edgar’s Mission via The Royal Melbourne Royal Show 2005. Straight away he became an ambassador for sheep, prompting many who gently patted and petted him during the day to question their desire for their night time meal of souvlaki.
Melbourne was born on a Western District sheep property and was found stuck in a fence and abandoned by his mother. The farmer who found him felt he deserved a chance at life. As they were going to the Melbourne Show the next day and knew a representative of Edgar’s Mission would be there, well we imagine you can guess the rest. Pam’s nickname for the show became Mary, which had a lot to do with one very cute little white lamb devotedly and gleefully trotting along behind her “every where that she went”!
After his bottle Melbourne would curl his lip to reveal his tiny bottom teeth. The approximate age of sheep can be determined by their teeth although this can sometimes be unreliable as the teeth can be affected by diet and the type of country they live on. At birth, lambs have eight milk teeth, or temporary incisors, arranged in four pairs in the lower jaw. The central pair of temporary incisor teeth is shed and replaced by the permanent teeth at approximately 1 year of age. At 2 years, the second pair of milk teeth is replaced by a pair of permanent incisors. At 3 and 4 years, the third and fourth pairs of permanent teeth appear. At 4 years of age the sheep has a “full mouth.” Sheep have no top teeth only a hard flat gum, which is known as a dental pad. They have 32 permanent teeth, eight lower incisors, 12 molars on the top jaw and 12 on the bottom jaw.
Melbourne became a favorite sheep to many a visitor to Edgar’s Mission for his friendly manner, wandering up for a pat and offering a complimentary handbag search. Melbourne sadly passed away on the 18th of March, 2011. A life well lived and loved, sadly not the lot of most sheep.