Monday, March 19, 2012

More Shearing

More photos from our shearing day--ladies in waiting:

The ewes are herded into a chute that leads up to the shearing stand. While in the chute, each ewe gets her annual vaccination. The mark on the ewe in the foreground helps the vaccine-giver remember where he stopped.

The shearers push down on the spring-loaded doors just long enough to get a grip on the next ewe. There is a lot of wrestling involved with shearing, but the ewes are not hurt.

In fact, once they are in position, they stop fighting against the shearer.

After the fleece is off, we spread it out and "skirt" it. We pull off the wool in the neck area, which is usually filled with hay bits. We pull off the wool near the other end of the sheep, which usually has some manure in it. It's a fun job! Really...

There is a barrel nearby for the "tags"--the wool that is pulled off. It is good for mulching around new trees and shrubs. It helps retain moisture and has built-in fertilizer.

The good wool goes in a big bag. This is either sold to the wool cooperative or we send it off to the mill for processing for our own use/sale.

When the bag is full, we take it down and put an empty bag back up. The bags weigh between 100 and 150 pounds when full.

When a ewe is finished with her haircut, she runs off to join her friends.

More to come another day...


  1. Pete, no Nick this year?

  2. No Nick this year. Pete and a young apprentice named Tim. Nick has graduated from college (and shearing, for now) and is working out of state. It was strange not to have Nick here, since he's done our shearing nearly from the start of our sheep-keeping.


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