Picky. Particular. I used to be a lot more picky about skirting wool. Skirting is the term that is used for removing VM and tags from the wool after shearing. VM is vegetable matter. Tags can either be grease tags or poop tags. Just think of a price tag hanging from a wool sweater. Same thing only ickier!
I first learned to skirt wool from a VERY particular person. What I didn't know was that I was tossing out good wool in the process. I was being too picky at picking! The actual picker and the the carder do amazing jobs in removing debris from a lot of what I was tossing in the compost heap before. What you have to be considerate of are poop tags, large pieces of VM and cockle burs. Obviously things like feathers, twine and any other foreign matter that shouldn't be there needs to be picked out as well. When you are doing a lot of skirting, sometimes things get overlooked. We find all manner of things in wool once it arrives here. Working at the mill at its old location, I have seen honey bees, paper bee nests (or the start of), feathers, any number or bugs who have mistakenly crawled into the wool and weren't able to get out and even a humming bird. It got tangled in the wool and never made it out. It was presumably gathering for her nest.
Basically anything that would be hard on the carder needs to be removed and it's just easier to do it on the skirting table. Mine is a simple table covered in fencing wire with large, open holes. Debris can fall through easily as well as second cuts. Second cuts are literally when the shears pass through a sheared part of the sheep while shearing. It created these little pieces of wool that are cut on both ends. We don't like them. They get in the wool and can cause little fuzz balls in the end product. You know, like when your sweater has pills. Those can often be shaken out on the skirting table. Skirting saves the customer money in 2 ways. We base our fees on incoming weight and I charge if I have to skirt incoming wool. It really does make sense to skirt during shearing.
So now you know the process so far. The photo is one of a fleece on my skirting table.