I originally thought I would have Ewegenie and Lady Madonna sheared when our shearer comes, but Tom thought it was cruel to make them carry the extra weight of their wool for more than another month. So I googled around to try to figure out how to shear sheep that have not been in 6 years. I found this video about Shrek the sheep being sheared after 7 years. So I took the advice in the video to use hand shears rather than electric, to leave some wool on the sheep to provide some warmth, and to be careful that the weight of the fleece did not pull the skin to cause nicks. So I thought I would give it a try. Here’s Ewegenie before shearing:
Her fleece is dragging on the stand and some of it is actually dragging all the way to the ground. Here’s a photo of her 16 inch fleece:
Here is she is partly sheared:
And here is her fleece on the shearing stand:
It weighed 24 pounds. Next is Lady Madonna’s turn. While Ewegenie took the strategy of passive resistance by refusing to stand for me, Madonna took the strategy of moving frequently on the stand. Here she is before her shearing:
Her fleece was felted on the outer surface. Once I cut through this surface initially the shearing went well across the back. But as I progressed the weight of the felted wool really tugged and made it quite a bit hard. Here she is partially done:
And here is her fleece on the stand:
Her fleece weighed 12.2 pounds. The sheep also got their feet trimmed, worming medication given and their CDT shots. Here they are after their difficult morning:
While I was working on the sheep, Tom was building a hog trough. We have been feeding them in rubber tubs, but they keep knocking them over and filling them with mud. Today I got sick of having to dig the tubs out of the mud with hungry hogs circling so I suggested he make a proper trough. So he consulted books and made this sturdy feeder:
I hope they like it, and it holds up to their abuse.
Tom and I are now going to take it easy and watch the Oscars.
Looks like a hard job well done.
Thanks Vesta! My back was rebelling but now it is settling down.
I am very impressed! The fact that you were able to research and learn from Shrek’s experience is wonderful. I didn’t realize your girls were six years old! I think that Ewegenie looks especially relieved in that last picture. You know it has to be awful nice for them not to be carrying that weight around and with the wool you left they should do fine in the cold. Awesome job and I’m sure you are glad that is behind you.
Thanks Tammy! There is very little on the internet about shearing neglected sheep, but the Shrek video really helped. I think they were both relieved that I was leaving. It was a lot of weight and must feel weird and light to them to be sheared for the first time. And I am glad it is done.
They do look greatly relieved in that last picture! What amazing sheep, to have survived all that neglect. I will never understand people.
Thanks! I thought they looked scared still. But at least Madonna felt comfortable enough to eat. They are amazing sheep but still really freaked out. I will never understand people either. Why spend good money for animals and then do close to nothing to take care of them?
I just read about your sheep rescue Donna – wow. How sad. I just wrote a blog post about the importance of knowing when we are over our heads and finding new homes for animals when we know we can’t care of them properly.
Thanks Monique. It is sad. At least most of them lived. I will read your blog post. If we keep taking in neglected animals, Tom and I will be in over our heads too.