Sheep are essentially field decorations except for two or thee times a year when you have to shear them, lamb them or harvest them. Other than that, they’d much rather be left alone.
This year, all the ewes are bred, and they are out on pasture. They had been shorn at odd times last year and one or two were actually shedding. I called the shearer out to get the fleeces of the sheep and the goats in a way that would render them useful for spinning.
I have clippers, and I knew I was capable of shearing myself, but I had to do an emergency shearing of the ram back in October when he got caught in some blackberries, and though I did get a usable fleece off him, I could have done a much better job. I figured that I would watch and learn and hopefully build up my confidence in my ability to do yet another thing around the farm.
Boy! What an experience! The person doing the shearing was fairly new at it, so she was having trouble doing it. I learned quickly the general idea of how to do it, and realized that I really was capable enough to do the task. She was able to get the blanket (the back and side wool) off everyone intact, and I am now the proud owner of some very stunning fiber!
That said, shearing 10 animals took almost 8 hours, so it was a LONG drawn out process.
Happily, I have some amazingly beautiful raw wool now available. I’m happy with the variety we ended up with. I’ve got 4 gorgeous Shetland fleeces. I got 2 Pygora fleeces and3 Angora (mohair) fleeces. This is all on top of the rabbit fiber that came off the rabbits last week!