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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Shearing

Come spring, owners of small sheep flocks are out looking for shearers-- or forced to sharpen the blades and do it themselves which is hard on back and sheep. This year, just before summer was officially here, we got lucky and found a young woman in the area who came out Wednesday and sheared our small flock for a reasonable fee.

We will be trying to sell these fleeces on eBay to handspinners who like natural colored fleeces of different shades of black, brown and gray.

Yes, I have cleaned, carded and spun the wool with a spindle, even have a spinning wheel, and two small looms. I liked weaving, love the look of handmade rugs; but it's not possible to do everything you like in life. Maybe again someday I'll pick it back up. Years ago, I came close to buying a full-sized wooden loom. It was so beautiful; and then my head reminded me the only place for it would be the center of the living room-- not exactly an appealing idea.

More than the profit you might make from selling the wool (which isn't much), the important thing about shearing is for the health and breeding of the sheep-- not that they believe that.

It's both funny and sad for awhile after the ewes have been shorn as their lambs do not recognize them. The ewes know their babies, but the lambs spend a great part of the next day running around calling for their mother-- who comes to them and they promptly run off as that can't be her. Their mommy is much larger. The flock will be noisy through the night.

The two rams will have their own adjustments to make as once again it's time to knock heads determining supremacy.

This ewe did a particularly good job in expressing her opinion regarding the process. Hint: it was not favorable! She will be happier about it-- tomorrow.

(as always click on any image for larger picture)

8 comments:

Dick said...

Last year we took our then 8 year old grand daughter to a local alpaca farm. It was just a week or two before their shearing so they were neat looking with all their hair (I guess it is hair.) The fellow there told me they only get about $7 a pound for the wool at that stage even though it is a fairly expensive yarn to buy after it has been processed.

One little fellow who was only about two weeks old took a real liking to my GD & followed her around all the time we were there. He'd come up to her to be petted & was really cute. I don't remember if I have put that photo on my blog or not. I'll have to look & do it if I haven't already as it is a cute photo. Most of we city folk never get involved in that phase but that farm makes a public weekend out of it and it has become quite a local event. They have close to 300 alpacas (some are boarded there) and the money they sell for is amazing.

Sonia said...

I think it's wonderful to live in a place where you can have so lovely sheep!

Mary Lou said...

I have a rabbit that needs shearing badly!! I neglected her during the spring, and she got all matted, and now I have been really busy getting the house back to order, and she is beyond help!! Time to get out the clippers I am afraid. ever seen a naked Jersey Wooley? sad!! I am a BAD Mommie!!

Paul said...

How about a leg of lamb? Just kidding. :)

robin andrea said...

This makes me wonder how the wild bighorn sheep manage? No one shears them. They must be a matted mess. I'm sure after the trauma wears off of just having a human that close with clippers, your sheep will be content with their new lean looks, and be able to handle the summer heat much better.

Dick said...

I did post the alpaca photo on my blog back in April, the 4th I think. It is a cute 2-week old baby & he sure stayed close to K.

Rain said...

Robin, we'd have to research it but many of them seem to have hair to me-- more like goats than sheep for biologically. It'd be interesting to know if any do have wool. We have a neighbor out here, who let his sheep go wild-- rams and the wool only get so long on them and doesn't appear any more matted than it'd be after a year or so of not being shorn.

Sounds interesting on the alpaca farm, Dick. Our shearer sheared a lama this year and didn't like working with it. I know that rabbits like angoras get sheared.

And finally, we sell these cute lambs for eating and have to not think of them as anything else. Last year two wethers (neutered males) got past us and lived and now are only good for mutton. Fortunately our flock is small and the sheep little in size which cuts down some on how much they eat. They mostly graze around the house and orchard. Eventually we will have to sell the ewes also but since it's a small flock, we haven't had to do that. For awhile we had 5 ewes, then we got a ram and the whole thing started growing. Dang, how's that happen again? *s*

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