Lambs are due in 4 weeks. This means it really is time to start shearing. I started with Ash because shes looked a bit skinny for a while, though her body condition has improved I wanted to see her shape first. Its pretty hard to tell a sheeps condition in full fleece, so off come her clothes! Both girls thinned out towards the end of lactation in the summer. Not totally sure why as there was lots of pasture and they got limited grain and a pound or two of alfalfa, but they didn’t gain it back as quickly as I expected. (Probably because they need wormed)
I lured her away easily and she hopped right up into the milk stanchion. I’ve been using the stanchion for the ewes since i can feed them and keep them mildly entertained while getting the hang of shearing with GIANT pointy hand shears.This is what I started with.
I went a bit faster this time taking off the main portion of fleece, but i left on the britches and neck to do last. That stuff was hard to do while she was standing. Especially when she started dancing out of boredom and want for more grain.
Dispite the photographic evidence to the contrary my cuts were much more consistant and I hardly got any second cuts. yay!
I decided this year to leave on the tail wool to make her look like a llama. Last year they got to be lions.
I left a ridge of hair on her spine so she looks more spinal than she really is. I would score her as a “2” or a bit thin. This means I need to up her calories and worm. You can see she is starting to bag up a little, more on her heavy milking side.
I finally got tired of trying to snip off the bits on her legs while she was standing so I got her out of the stanchion and flipped her over finishing her up with some New Zealand style cuts. So. Much. Easier. Ash has a nice fleece so I didn’t want to mangle it, but i think im proficient enough with the hand shears to start shearing NZ style be sitting the sheep on their butts and rolling them around. It keeps the skin tight so you are less likely to nick them and makes for easier cuts. Plus the fleece comes off in one piece. I’ll be trying this on Polly since her fleece is not worth much. I was going to use it for batting anyway.
I left her collar on again, but I’ll be taking that off this weekend. One down, 5 more to go.