Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Shearing Your Own Sheep





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.

We  She survived her first shearing


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.

Cons?

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



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8 comments:

  1. It sounds like the new sheep had not been handled a lot. Too bad they'd not been trained to the stand, but at least you were able to manage to get them sheared well in a reasonable amount of time. It would have taken me a lot longer than twenty minutes.

    That reminds me, I need to shear our Golden Retriever. She does not like the heat and tries to cool off in the stock tank. lol

    Have a great weekend!

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    Replies
    1. The only sheep that ever get trained to the stand are fair lambs...everyone else is wild and free, which makes life difficult at times :)

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  2. Nice job! I can, if I have to, do a few myself each year, but boy it sure is nicer to let the shearers do them ;-).

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  3. I grew up in a little farm town in Northern California. While my family did not have sheep (we lived in town) I did watch sheep shearing quite often because many of my 4-H buddies had sheep. I was always fascinated with the speed of the shearers! Then, when all was done, I also enjoyed watching the sheep bound out into the pasture, pounds lighter and a lot cooler! I swear, I saw smiles on their faces! Glad you were able to get the new sheep sheared on your own - you are braver than I!

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    Replies
    1. They do seem happier when they are not carrying that fleece around.

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  4. I know nothing about shearing, just think sheep are cute. I found this interesting. I was a horse person myself. This is why I blog, people sharing their real life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!
      One of the best reasons to blog :)

      Delete

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