Shear Day

So today was the day.  Tom and I tried to prepare everything in advance.  Here’s the corralled sheep looking at me knowing something bad is about to happen.

And let the shearing begin.  Here’s Denise (the human) and Reuben (the sheep).

And here’s Tom and I ganging up on a sheep.  Tom’s trimming the hooves while I administer CDT shots, wormer and copper boluses.

And here’s the sheep assembly line.  Zander is one of the shearers, Denise is the sheep transport and lift the sheep into the chair person, and then Tom and I administering the final torture before their lucky release back into the barn.

Here’s Claire, the other shearer, working on one of the sheep.

Here are the as-yet-unsheared sheep watching in horror.

Here’s Willow, one of the helpers, petting little Diddley.

Here’s the shearing station in full tilt with Boni, the fleece master, in the background.   We had 5 very kind people volunteer to help us today.  In addition to Denise, Boni and Willow, there was Sally, sheep wrangler extraordinaire, and Greg, Willow’s father and all around go-to guy.  Greg was also the photographer so did not get in any photos.  I am not sure how Sally managed to wiggle out of getting a photo taken of her.

There was a brief lull at the sheep torture/medication station so Denise, Willow and I briefly watched the shearing.  You can see the fleeces starting to pile up on the right.

Here’s Jethro, our biggest sheep, being sheared by Claire.

And finally all the sheep are sheared and yearly health maintenance done.  Now there’s 30+ fleeces to be attended to.

Time to take a bath and drink some alcohol.

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16 Responses to Shear Day

  1. Nancy K. says:

    Oh, my gosh! I get stressed out just looking at the photos! And you have TWO people shearing? OMG. I hate how fast it goes with ONE. I like them to shear a sheep ~ nice and carefully ~ then give the sheep it’s wormer and trim the feet. At that point, I want to take the sheep and give it a cookie and pet it, before releasing it back into the pasture. THEN, I pick up the fleece ~ shaking off as many second cuts as I can. I put the fleece on the skirting table and then go get the next sheep, which I halter and lead to the shearer… you get the idea…

    I admit, I have found one shearer willing to do things at my pace but I will use him as long as he’s still standing! I absolutely HATE it when it’s rush, rush, rush, assembly line shearing. I need to make sure that everyone is OK as we go along.


    I do agree with the shower and alcohol (not necessarily in that order!) when it’s all done!

    • It wasn’t my idea to have two shearers, but Zander insisted on it. It was really fast and stressful for the sheep and me. I liked the old days when I sheared them myself. I would do 3-4 per day and go slow. There were no nicks, and I had more time to assess the sheep better. But my back will not allow that anymore.

  2. Isn’t it funny how almost all shearing posts end with “and then we sat down and drank” ;-). Nice looking sheep!

    • I think because it is so stressful for all involved, plus a lot of work for the humans. Maybe I should offer hard cider to the sheep as well. Thanks for the compliment.

  3. sheepsclothing says:

    Tried to email you just a bit ago, but it came back undeliverable- something about “account is over quota” (?). Anyway, just wanted to say that you can use any of the photos that you like- I will probably post a couple, but not sure which ones-


  4. Karen Anne says:

    I just occurred to me, what happens if sheep aren’t sheared? Is their coat length self-limiting?

    • Good question. I saw a story about escaped sheep in New Zealand that had not been sheared for years so they helicoptored them out of the mountains to get them sheared. There fleeces were huge and quite unhealthy for them.

  5. Jackie Craw says:

    I envy you having shearing over with. I hate it. It stresses me out. Ours probably won’t get done till middle of April, hopefully before lambs. Did you get any nicks?

    • It stresses me out too. There were a lot of nicks and some bad ones. Lou had his penis cut horribly. It took 9 stitches by the vet (3 internal and 6 external) to get it sewed up. I feel just awful.

  6. Yes Karen Anne. A big ouch. It was either 3 or 4 sheep in a day that put me put for 2 weeks the last time I sheared. Tom has forbidden it but I am sure considering it. I even asked if he wanted to learn ( he said no).

  7. Alta Crutcher says:

    Sorry to hear about Lou. I hope he is going to be OK. He is a beautiful boy and produces (with a little help) some beautiful offspring. My shearing just finished and I think my tub is full (hot water sounds positively luxurios….where is the spell check when you need it?)

    • Thanks Alta! It was actually Lou, a wether, that was hurt, not Lewis, our ram. I am glad to hear your shearing is done and was hopefully uneventful. It sounds like you agree that a hot bath is the best thing after sheep shearing.

  8. Jan Horton says:

    Hi Denise, My name is Jan Horton and I’m beginning to weave again after several years of not. I feel so strange that everything is so new to me now. Of course, the older I get, the more see-through my memory gets. Anyway, I am trying to find out how and where to buy wool so spin and weave. I think your farm life is fabulous. I’m envious. My Ravelry name is Permilia. Please answer me when you can. I would really appreciate it. Take care. Jan

  9. Pingback: Jethro Died Today | Schoonover Farm Blog

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