What’s happening on my farm!
I’ve been getting some questions about my flock at home so I thought I would share now that shearing is over.
If you are ever spending time with the sheep community you will know there is no such thing as “spring, there is Lambing and Shearing, and they are their own seasons. Here is some of this years shearing documented!
Because I never have more than a dozen or so sheep I do all of my of my own shearing.
This spring I only had 8 sheep to shear which is a sheep a day after work.
This is a re-purposed goat milking stand, I shear my sheep backwards compared to most professional shearers. I have the time to let my sheep stand, I get the useable fleece off then do all of the shearing to make the sheep look nice. (the big blonde “sheep” in the back round is Connor, he wanted to be on the stand all of the time)
This is Charlotte the eponymous character by E B White, or the author of Jane Eyre, depending on her mood. Today she hopped right on the stand to get sheared, she has only been sheared by me- that is some sheep!
I start shearing around the neck which on my sheep, (particularity Glenda here) is often matted and rubbed down from them pushing their heads through the fence in hopes of getting that last bit of green just outside of their reach. Once I have sheared around the neck I have a great starting place to continue shearing.
One arm holds the fleece while the other controls the clippers moving with the angle of the body. I shear really close to when my sheep roo, so I never pull my fleece to keep it from separating.
I always move with the body and cut with how the muscles lay. I start on one side and work shoulder to hip and then work around on the other side.
I shear so that most of the skirting stays on the sheep as I work to remove the useful parts of the fleece this leaves me with most of unusable fiber on the sheep.
Once I finish one side I work over the spine and start on the other side of the sheep. The fleece is attached and hanging on the side of the sheep yet to be sheared.
Here is what it looks like mostly done, with the fleece hanging off Dorian where it is still attached.
the fleece is checked over one more time, extra skirting is done, before it is folded away to be washed!
Here is where I do all of the extra skirting on the sheep. I could leave all of the extra fiber to roo, off the sheep; however this allows me to check over the sheep for ticks, injury, or problems.
fleeces are folded up with the clean interiors resting against themselves and rolled, then the stored in old pillow case so they can breathe, releasing any extra moisture caught in the fibers.
This is Charlotte when we are done sharing she was pregnant here about a week before she lambed a little ram lamb!
This is Dante with his lamb fleece!
This is Dante’s Lamb Fleece- So lovely and clean he only took me about 10 minutes to shear!
This is my Dante all sheared up he looks a little smaller!
Shearing is an awesome time where in the spring I get to re-socialize my sheep, wonder over my fiber and wait for lambs.
The next step of the the process is washing!