Saturday, March 16, 2013

Shearing Time

Despite the recent return to cold weather we have now finished shearing all the bred ewes.  We can close up the barn doors if necessary and with the bedding pack that's built up since the last barn cleaning they are very comfortable now.  We've already decided to shear in mid-February next year.  This may help to forestall some of the ketosis problems we've seen this year.  Because they will be cooler the sheep will be more active and more energetic about eating.  We will be able to assess body condition better and add grain sooner to the diet if necessary. They will also be more comfortable being shorn then since they won't be so heavily pregnant.   Since we can close up the big doors it will be easier to keep them comfortably warm than it was to keep them comfortably cool.  It's a plan.

Shearing was broken into three episodes this year and we will still have to have the rams, replacement ewe lambs (now yearlings) and older unbred ewes shorn at a later date.  There isn't much time to fine-tune the camera to optimal settings, so the pictures won't win any prizes but they show some of the action.

Kisses  (Cotswold)
Snowflake (crossbred Border Leicester/Rambouillet/Finn)
Star (crossbred CVM/Rambouillet/Border Leicester) and her white splashes before.....
.....and after
Wabbit (Border Leicester/CVM/Rambouillet/Romney) who is so large we sheared her standing up rather than stress her with the normal tipping up and rolling around
Buttons (CVM/Rambouillet/Corriedale) has become quite calm and friendly and hung around the shearing boards watching each sheep be shorn and enjoying back scritches.
Shorn sheep in several shades
Ivan, senior barn kitty at sixteen, snoozed on a pile of loose bedding through the whole afternoon. Eat, do kitty things, sleep, repeat.
In all, we sheared seventy-eight ewes.  Lambing is due to start at the end of the coming week.  I have five wool orders to pull together and then I can start on getting reserved fleeces checked over and sent out.  There's enough wool here to clothe a small army - I'd love to see all the things it will become.


  1. I need to plan next year now myself, Shetlands have started lambing and the shearer that was supposed to be here this month is now not coming until the end of April. So much easier on the ewes and lambs if shearing is done ealier.

    Congrats on getting 78 of them done. Love the kitty picture, doing what cats do best.

  2. Wow! Now those are pretty fleeces!!! That's a great cat :-).