Friday, May 08, 2009

Shearing Day

It was shearing day here on the a3farm.

OK, so it happened about two weeks ago now, but no one has recently accused me of being punctual about keeping up this blog.

I got a call on a Thursday evening from Elmer, the professional sheep shearer that we have hired the last few years.

He was in the area and needed a days work, could I be ready for him? I got ready.

I can shear sheep. I have sheared sheep. They don't like it much and neither do I.

When I shear a sheep they look like they have been run over by a lawn mower. They are generally bleeding in several spots. So am I. Usually we don't require stitches. Usually. I can do about ten sheep in a long weekend.

When Elmer shears a sheep he just sits it down on its butt and basically undresses it. It takes only a minute or two. The sheep doesn't seem to mind. Sometimes it barley seems to notice.

We worked most of the day, him shearing and me just making sure he had a constant supply of sheep. He trimmed all their hoofs while he was at it.

Many of our sheep are hair breeds or wool breeds crossed with hair breeds. They don't all need to be sheared but most of them do.

Except for about a dozen Florida Native ewes, the wool is not worth keeping. We shear them just to make them more comfortable in the summer heat. Most of the wool winds up in the compost pile.

He trimmed the hoofs of 71 head, all our adult ewes. He sheared 44 head. After doing all that he had an appointment at another farm nearby to do another 30 head or so. It was all done before dinner.

Some jobs it's best to hire done. I paid his fee and was glad to do it.


Walter Jeffries said...

Shearing is hard and not something I've mastered, yet. I'm taking a hiatus from trying. I've a lot of respect for those who can, especially with the clipper sheers.

Merry Christmas, Sunny Solstice and Happy New Years!


-Walter Jeffries
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep, Dogs & Children
in the mountains of Vermont

Al D Goose said...

I remember when we used to help you with this back in Ohio. I seem to recall that with a small flock of shearers, all we had to do was hold them up by the hind legs for a haircut and whatever else needed doing and the whole thing only took a matter of days. Of course, that was with experts doing most of the cutting.