Sunday, October 8, 2017

Norris Gets A Haircut

This is the time of year that spring born Cotswold lambs need to be shorn.  Fleece is now five to six inches long and lovely to process and spin.  Trying to overwinter them in full fleece is problematic, at least at this farm where the animals are housed in the barns.  Hay chaff will ruin them quickly and coating them has given mixed results including some unfortunate felting.  Moreover, lambs are hot in all that wool and will eat and gain better if they are more comfortable.

Normally I would call our good shearer, Brian, but for just one lamb..... surely I could do it myself.  I've shorn adults before when necessary but I did them standing and I didn't try to manage any particular pattern or take the fleece off in one piece.  I sheared Norris in my head several times and had a plan of action.  This was the week when we had 90 degree days so I knew he'd feel so much better with it off and that cemented my resolve to do it right now.

I didn't want to wrestle the big sheet of plywood into his pen so I fished a giant piece of cardboard out of the recycle pile.

"Hmmm, what's this?"

"Kinda tasteless......"

So, armed with hand shears and a clean bag to put his lovely fleece in I tipped him on his butt and gave it a try.  Have you seen that commercial where the couple is staring up at the wrecked ceiling and pipes dripping water and the husband says, " I can do this."  and the wife does this strangled laugh and shakes her head and states, "No."  The wife was the smart side of my brain about 2 minutes in.  I'm dripping sweat (remember it's 90+ degrees), I have cut off zero wool, Norris is already fussing and I'm afraid I'm going to cut him.

Plan B.  Halter and shear standing up with the help of my trusty ancient trimming stand.  Even that took longer than I like to admit but I can say that neither of us got hurt (although by the time I finished we were both done. with. this.).

I sorted and skirted as I went and ended up with a 3.6 lb bag of colored lamb wool.  Next will be washing, picking and then blending....with something....just for fun.

Norris is much happier and cooler.

As I didn't shear as close as electric clippers would you can already see the waves in his wool that will shortly become curls.

He's growing nicely and showing a significant increase in height compared against the old boys.

And he's staying as sweet and friendly as ever.  I left his forelock on and wanted to get a nice picture but he kept running toward the camera.

There.  The next shearing will be by a pro-fess-shun-all.  


  1. Robin! Awesome job!!! He looks happier, you have some lovely wool to "do" with and probably a terrific feeling of success! Bravo!

  2. He is so cute! Looks like a totally different little guy. What a beautiful bag full of wool to play with. Thanks for sharing.

  3. He's so handsome!! And looks squeezably soft too. What a beautiful bag of wool to play with. Good job, Robin!!

  4. Awww! Bless his heart (and yours too)! Norris looks so little without his fleece - and 5” is plenty long to spin (merinos and most “meat” breeds would be jealous). I love the color variegation.