Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Sheep shearing

On Saturday we went to the farm to help shear all the sheep. This was their full shearing. She had hired 2 professional shearers to come out and do the shearing, so we were there mostly to watch and help when we could.

First, all the sheep were put in the hoop house and confined to a small area with cattle panels to make them easy for the shearers to catch. Don't they look happy?

Then, the 2 guys would pull a sheep out each and get to work. First they trimmed hooves.
Then they started down the stomach and moved to the neck.
Down the neck and onto the sides.
Lay the sheep down to work around to the back.
Flip the sheep over the get the other side so that your cuts meet at the back.
Pull the sheep out of the fleece and let them go. You now have a complete sheep fleece sitting on the ground with no sheep in it. It looked so cool!
Take the fleece to the table and skirt it. This means removing all the poopy parts that you don't want ending up in your yarn. These fleeces will be sent to the mill to be spun into yarn.
Naked sheep! They look so funny without their fleece.

Fleece is interesting because while it seems yucky and coarse on the outside, the inside is so soft and clean. The part that was up against the skin is wonderful!

It was a really fun day and we learned so much! Logan also worked with Senate and is making great progress, but I'll post about that later. Things have been crazy here the last few days so I've fallen behind on posts and answering comments.


Farmgirl_dk: said...

Very cool pictures...I'm always amazed at the speed at which experienced shearers are able to get an entire sheep shorn. I actually saw a timed competition once - it was crazy.
It's still hard for me to believe that those dirty, filthy, (smelly) fleece are actually a desired end-product! lol

Christy said...

The inside of the fleece is soft and wonderful. I guess that is the part that is desired. I sure desired it LOL.

Paige said...

Wow, that sounds quite fun - and interesting too!

Anonymous said...

The pictures are great. I've never seen sheep being sheared before. I found it all interesting and liked the way you explained each picture.
I enjoyed my visit so much.

linda m said...

I saw a shearing demonstration once and I'm still amazed at how fast they shear without cutting the sheep. What a wonderful experience for you and Logan! Do you think you will ever try shearing yourself?

Danielle said...

Their method looks different than the one I learned at the class, but the end product sure looks nice!

Maile said...

i was once sheared just like that..but lets not talk about that.

Christy said...

Mom - I'm sure I'll try shearing myself someday, I really wanted to take the sheep shearing class Danielle took but Mark was out of town that weekend and Logan was too young to go. I'm also sure I'll end up hiring someone to do it for me if I end up with more than 5 sheep. Less than that I can probably handle.

Maile - I'm sorry about that, that must have been rough! I'll be sure to never mention it.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Yeah, Maile, I won't mention it here to anyone in Oregon either. Although I know of a few who would LOVE the details. :-)

Twinville said...

You said:
"Pull the sheep out of the fleece and let them go. You now have a complete sheep fleece sitting on the ground with no sheep in it."

Christy, you crack me up, girl! hehe

What kind of sheep are these? I bet their wool was amazing underneath. Even our dirt angora girl's(Luna) Mohair was lovely under all that filth.

And I can't wait until the time comes to shear our two sheep. What fun!

I'm excited about when you purchase your first sheep, too!

Christy said...

They are merinos and a bunch of Lester crosses. Some are pure white, some brown and some black. When they are naked they all look the same!

Maile said...

Having been sheared, i sure would not recommend trying to shear yourself! I think it would be hard to reach all the places..but if you do shear yourself..be sure to take a video of it and post it.m