We hire a sheep shearer to come and shear our sheep every year. But there are times when we have to shear a sheep.
This past weekend we purchased two ewes, who had not been sheared this year. Shearing sheep is not my favorite thing to do, but we have done it and can manage a couple of ewes.
To shear your own sheep you need shears. We have several types, some are better for clipping show lambs, but we do have shears that work for shearing a sheep in full fleece. There are hand shears as well, that are a cheaper alternative to buying shears, but are more of a workout for your hands.
We have a sheep stand that gets used when we are shearing show lambs. They are "trained" to the stand. These two ewes are more like our sheep in the pasture, they were NOT going to just stand there and let us remove their wool without some serious protest. So, we pulled out a tarp and on their bottoms they went.
Mike has taken a sheep shearing class, we have watched our shearer for years but that doesn't qualify us as a sheep shearers. One thing you learn really quick as you are trying to shear your own, it is harder than it looks.
The first ewe we did was the yearling who had never been sheared before. Why not pick the most challenging one first? There were three of us, we could handle it! When you place a sheep on their bottom, somethings happens-they sit there! They stop fighting, moving, and trying to flee. The challenge is to keep them there and shear at the same time. As I mentioned before, there were three of us, so it wasn't as challenging as it would be for one person, with not much experience working on their own.
What takes our shearer 3 minutes, took us about 20. Her wool clip was very long and it was not easy to get through. The second ewe had a much lighter fleece, and it only took us about 10 minutes.
|Lovely BFL/BL locks|
What are the pros of shearing your own sheep?
If you only have a few sheep, it can be difficult to find a shearer willing to come out and shear your sheep.
If you plan on keeping your wool, you can take your time and make sure there are no second cuts etc. Shearers are not always concerned about the wool clip.
You don't have to pay a shearer. You will have to buy the equipment to do you own, but if you decide on hand shearers, the investment is minimal.
You can work around your own schedule, working on one or two sheep at a time.
Unless you are as good as the sheep shearer, it takes a lot more time.
I find it is more stressful on the sheep when we do it. There is a art to moving the sheep as you are shearing to keeps them calm.
It does cost money to hire a sheep shearer, but I think it is worth every penny.
|7 Year old gave us a much easier time of it.|
If you have a desire to shear sheep, practice makes perfect! There are classes you can take, and videos you can watch. You may even get good enough to make money on the side, shearing for others.
I will continue to hire a sheep shearer every year, but it is a job that we have to do ourselves, on occasion