Gathering Wool

Our small flock of sheep can technically be shorn twice a year, preferably early spring and late summer.  Last summer we had a few other things on our minds, though, and fewer hands than usual (some hands being busy holding an infant), so the poor sheep got through the winter with an extra heavy coat. They probably didn’t mind all that much during the solid week of below-freezing temperatures we had… but now that the weather is warming up again, it’s clear they’d prefer to be able to take off the heavy coats.

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The first photo is the day before shearing – they’ve started getting itchy and the two adults scratched off a lot of their back wool against a small walnut tree in the pasture.  Looking a little shaggy, girls.

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Eureka mid-shearing.  This time around we tried using a stanchion to keep the sheep still during shearing and found it worked a lot better for us.  Our sheep are BIG – holding them in one hand while shearing with another just doesn’t work well for us, and it’s stressful for everybody.  This way they got a snack while we worked on their wool.  It’s still not their favorite activity: she only looks calm because she’s actually given up ever being able to move again and is resigned to her misery.  Sheep are a strange bunch.

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All shorn!  Happy shearing weather was a little overcast so nobody gets a sunburn today or tomorrow while they get used to being naked again.  Looking forward to new clean coats for summer!