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Shearing

Shearing day has, in the past, been a day of anxiety for me.  No longer.  I refuse to let it be.  I currently have a shearer I can trust to be here with good, working equipment when he says he will be.  That is a huge plus to start with.  I used to try and line up help, which has been an issue for me in the past.  Now I just roll with it.  I catch the sheep, if I need to, I grab the shorn fleeece and throw it on the skirting table, I sweep the shearing surface clean for the next sheep and then I skirt the wool.  I put it in a paper lawn and leaf bag and it's time to start all over again.  I welcome help, if I happen to have it, but I don't fret if I don't have it.  I used to.  It's not worth it.  My husband is also not allowed near the barn when shearing.  His energy is not conducive to calming animals.  I will leave it at that.  

Shearing is detrimental to the health of the sheep.  If you've ever had a dog that needs regular grooming, you know what can happen when they don't get groomed.  Their hair gets matted and it can pull on their skin and cause sores.  The same can happen with sheep.  Another reason to shear is to get the wool off so the shepherd can see what is going on with the pregnant ewes and once they lamb, the babies can find the milk easier.  When there is a lot of wool, it's difficult for them to find their mother's teats and if it's cold, they can die quickly without that first colostrum.  They can also get their mother's body heat more readily with the wool off.  

The best way to know what happens on a farm is to know your farmer.  Take some time and visit.  Visit during shearing and lambing.  Find out what really happens from a real farmer.  


2 comments

  • I met you recently at the last Bozeman farmers market. I was intrigued by what you do then and even more so now that I’ve read every word on your web site. I would love to come and help you sometime whenever you need an extra pair of hands. Just send me a note. I’d be totally new at anything to do with sheep, but willing to learn.

    Cathy Dowdell
  • I love the lawn and leaf bags! I had always seen people use plastic bags, and that is just wrong. Wool loves the paper, and I’m so excited to hear that you use them too!!!

    Kathy Mason

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