Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Take It Off, Baby!

Having been born in late March and early April, the Cotswold lambs have grown a prodigious amount of fiber. At a rate of an inch a month - typical for the breed, especially youngsters - they now have up to seven inches of clean, soft, particularly lovely wool.  Up to this point they've been grazing pasture 99% of the time with only a snack of dry hay when grass gets short from drought, or if they've been kept off the pasture for a day as happens when we run the flock over the scales to check weight gains and eye scores (a measure of one particularly dangerous type of internal parasitism).  Anyway, their fleeces are lovely now, but will lose condition from VM contamination and possibly cotting if left on until spring shearing. Shearing now gets the fleece off in excellent condition and makes them cooler, too.  There is plenty of time for them to regrow another 6 inches by spring shearing.  Our schedules finally matched up and Mr. Magee came to do the deed.

What is this 'shearing' I hear about?

You'll see.  Heh heh heh.

Shiny piles of lamb's wool

Glow-in-the-dark lamb

The Cotswolds really are that shiny.  (The glowing eyes...not so much.  That's my camera :-/  )

Hey, what's everybody looking at?

These other lambs weren't being shorn today, they just got caught up in the group when we penned them.  They did do a good job serving as wooly doorstops and moral support for the Cots.  Sheep pick up subtle cues from body movement and eye contact and they know when you are or aren't 'after them' so they were very calm as we worked around them selecting out only the Cots to shear.

Cleo!  Hi, Cleo! Hi! Cleo!  Hi!

 All the sheep love Cleo and she loves them back.  Or maybe she just likes hot sheep breath.

Hang on.  Don't worry.  It'll be over soon.

Traditionally, one shears the white sheep first and the colored sheep after to avoid any contamination of the white wool with colored bits.  It's not critical here since I handle and sort all the wool myself, but we just tend to do it out of habit.

Shiny shades of silver sheepies.  Say it three times fast.

Around behind the ears

After the 20 ewe lambs were done we moved operations up to the ram barn and did 15 ram lambs too.  After being shorn they have to get reacquainted, so much shoving and smelling and some head butting ensues.

Who are you and why are you in my pasture??  Oh wait......geez, Fred, what happened to you?

So now I have 35 (more) fleeces to work with!  Woo!

Dexter apparently took advantage of Holly being out all day to spend the afternoon in her chair.


Indulge in a little too much 'nip, did we?

I'm thinking orange cat fur might make a nice blend with lamb........


  1. I can believe how shiny the cots looked after being clipped...those dark grey lamb fleeces are gorgeous Robin *hugs* Jennie

  2. I agree, the gray is just stunning! I'll admit, every time I manage to swipe a brush across our cat, it occurs to me that she is long-haired and possibly long enough to spin.

  3. Pretty, pretty.

    The view looking down on that print on the chair gives Dexter a bit of a psychedelic look :-).