The process of harvesting the wool from a sheep is known as shearing. Shearing sheep is often a tough task for many people, but the right equipment and technique makes handling a 200 pound thrashing ewe easier. The purpose of shearing is to assist in keeping a clean environment during the lambing process so many producers shear their ewes about one month prior to lambing. The first step to shearing is using proper equipment. Many professional sheep shearers use a shaft driven machine (A) which is a lot easier because the sheep can not become entangled in the cord but these machines are very expensive. The average person will use a regular set of hand held sheep shearers (B).
The second step to properly shearing a sheep is the technique. First, you must flip the sheep onto the butt. This helps to stabilize the sheep and helps to keep control during this process. Once there, begin shearing their belly, udder and inside of their hind legs (C). Next, roll the sheep onto her right hip and begin to sheer the left hip area (D). Now begin shearing the head (E), only on breeds that have wool on their heads, and then the neck and left shoulder area (F, G). Once this is complete lay the sheep onto their right side and finish the left side and as much of the back as possible (H). Now you can put the ewe back on her butt and shear the left side beginning at the shoulder (I, J) and working your way to her butt (K). Once finished with that step the sheep should be completely free of wool and a nice, neat fleece should be present (L).
(C) (D) (E) (F) (G) (H)
(I) (J) (K) (L)
Photos A & B courtesy of Premier 1 Supplies
Photos C-L courtesy of Chester Farms.
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