In the past, shearing day has always been very stressful for us. When we hire someone to shear the sheep we have to sit back and watch while someone else cuts slices into the skin of our flock. When we do it ourselves, we stress out about hurting them ourselves and then fail to actually get the shearing done because we are so anxious about it. The sheep themselves don’t seem terribly bothered when they get cut but it makes us sick and is so hard to avoid – their skin is so thin and the shears cut through any little wrinkle.
This year, shearing was delayed due to the heavy, extended winter. And this gave us plenty of time to think about how we wanted to approach shearing season this year. We knew that we didn’t want to hire someone this year. But we were also dreading the physical and emotional struggle of shearing them ourselves in the traditional manner. So we decided to try using non-electric hand clippers on a stand. Its slow but we actually enjoy the process and are happy with the results. We don’t harvest quite as much wool but we are okay with that. In fact, we kind of like leaving a bit more wool on the sheep – it helps them adjust to the sudden change in temperature. Plus it is something that two people can do at once- one on each side of the sheep- so Chris and I are able to work together. And best of all no one- not us nor the sheep- is stressed out! So far we have only shorn Elizabeth and Francine but hope to get the rest of the flock done this weekend.
4 thoughts on “Shearing”
I have a pair of spring-handled Fiskars scissors that work well for this, and I like the results better as well. Unfortunately, my sheep don’t stand very well on a stand, so I’ve done the job with them standing on the ground — which is hard on my back!
Interesting that they do better standing on the ground- I feel like mine would constantly be trying to walk away. With the stand they can’t fidget too much without stepping over the side so they more or less stand still! With Francine we used scissors that we had on hand. By the time we got to Elizabeth we had gotten a pair of shearing clippers and one of use used that and the other used the scissors. We found the clippers worked well for long, deep cuts and the scissors were better for the fiddly bits, like around the arm pits and other skin folds.
Oh, I definitely have to tie them! On the stand they DO fidget and step off the sides.
sounds like a good choice