Our 2017 sheep shearing day is scheduled! 2016 was a great year, and the mill has been empty. We will have over 50 fleeces this year, and I am excited that we will be knee deep in wool once again.
(repost from 2014)
Sometimes I am surprised by some of the "rumors' that fly around about farming.
One example of that is about sheep shearing. I have read articles that talk about the horrors of shearing sheep. Last I checked, all of my sheep survive the shearing experience. Actually they handle it better than my toddlers did during their first hair cut!
I have heard that sheep are abused while being shorn, even experiencing bodily injury. An experienced shearer knows how to handle a sheep, and most of the time the sheep handle it pretty well. The lambs and yearling ewes are a little more high strung about it, but the shearer does not harm them. Occasionally a ewe will get a nick from the clippers, but an experienced shearer usually doesn't leave a scratch!
A good reason to hire an experienced sheep shearer. They do make the experience easier on everyone!
( I think I have received more injuries during shearing days, than the sheep :) )
I have heard about the unnecessary stress that sheep are put through by shearing because a sheep will only grow the amount of wool it needs. False! I keep sheep, we have missed shearing times, the wool gets VERY long, matted, dirty, and collects manure tags.
I have heard claims that sheep would shed their wool, naturally before summer. If only! I have never had a sheep shed its wool. If they did we wouldn't have to hire a shearer every year.
Our sheep will grow fleeces that weigh between 7-11 pounds annually. After shearing, our sheep bounce around like lambs. I personally think they appreciate that
If you visit a farm on shearing day, you will see the sheep are handled with care, and the shearing experience takes but a few minutes.( We have our home school group coming out on shearing day, I assure you, there will be no children watching on in horror as the sheep get their annual clipping.)
Any smart farmer will not want harm to come to his/her animals. Why would they? They are an investment! It only makes sense to take care of that investment. If I had a shearer that abused my animals, or left them injured, I would be looking for a new shearer.
We pay for these sheep, they are not cheap. Most of our ewes live their lives out here, we take good care of them. In return, they give us beautiful wool fleeces and lambs. Win, Win!
For other post on shearing:
Wear Wool! (sorry, I couldn't resist...)