Today, we sheared the sheep. My housemate, professional shearer Mary Lake, did the honors. The girls had been getting quite woolly and it was definitely time!
The first step is catching the sheep, which was not to hard considering the small size of the pen. Mary grabbed Shirley first and pulled her on to the plywood. Mary then sat the sheep on her rump, rendering her helpless and sheared the belly wool off. The belly wool is harsh and unusable, so it is discarded.
Mary sheared up the neck of the sheep, and then sheared and separated the fleece from the body so that it rolled away and remained tidy. Shearing is sheep ju-jitsu, as Mary continuously re-positioned Shirley to remove the wool efficiently. All of the positions kept the sheep calm and immobile to prevent injury and stress.
After Mary sheared the other side of the sheep, the ewe walked away leaving her fleece behind. I’ve discovered that my sheep are much smaller than I thought! They are all in excellent condition and very healthy. Dot and Shirley had the finest fleeces. Peggy’s coat was a little dirty but very nice. I’ll
be more careful to keep hay out of her coat next year. All of the black ewes had
amazing silver fleeces. I cannot wait to see the yarn that silver fleece makes! I’ve selected the highest quality fleece for yarn. The second best selections of wool will become felt, as it will matter less if the wool is on the short side. Anything with hay contamination or felting or that was to short or second cut will be a wonderful mulch for the garden.