Managed to snap a quick photo yesterday of the Shetlands after shearing. Angus in the front, Kirby in the back looking so tiny next to the unsheared boys.
I want to thank everyone for the comments on shearing. They help so much.
Deb, as you suggested I think we will attempt shearing the last two in late May. I have been doing a bit more reading about the sticky rise and contacted another Shetland breeder for more info. She also stated it is best to shear after the "rise" when the wool twists and makes the "roo line".
For those not familiar with the Shetland they are considered a primitive breed with a double coat. The outer coat is hair like, the undercoat is downy and soft. The wool tends (this can vary sheep to sheep) not to be very greasy and also keeps the sheep dry. The outer coat stays constant, but the inner coat sheds out once a year (called "rooing").
The roo line is also often called the "rise" by Shetland owners and shearers. It's a weak spot and not an actual break in the wool. In a perfect world you would want to shear just before the "rise" hits in the early spring otherwise the weak spot ends up in the fleece itself. She also said only two breeds of sheep "roo", the Soay and the Shetland.
The equipment we use is the Premier 4000c with coarse blade. Just purchased early spring. The blades were sharp and kept oiled so I do believe it was just our being inexperienced with the Shetland wool. We also have the Oster Clipmaster with fine blade and a hand shearer (which looks like a dangerous weapon to me).
Nancy, I don’t think I have the patiences to roo a whole sheep. I did roo the boy’s private areas instead of trying to use scissors. The rooing worked great in that area.
There is a fiber festival/fair coming up May 16 in Marshfield Missouri at the Webster County Fairgrounds. We attend it every year. The festival is hosted and produced by the Highland Fiber Artists Guild. http://www.hfafiberfair.com/
Here’s a little plug for it.
Going Green is the theme for this year's Fiber Fair!
Free Admission & Parking - Sorry, No Pets!
Showing: Alpacas, Llamas, Sheep, Goats, Bunnies & More!
Free Mini-Workshops & Children's Crafts w Knitting & Crocheting - Speed Contests w Fashion Show w Fleece & Skein Competitions w Young Crafters' Contest and Demonstrations: Sheep Shearing, Spinning, Weaving, Knitting, Crochet, Tatting, Lace making, Quilting & More!
Some have asked what I do with the fleece. We do sell the raw fleeces (what we don’t use) and I like to try everything at least once in fiber crafts. We have a spinning wheel and just purchased the carder. I keep coming back to fiber processing being my favorite and working hands on with the animal. Then felting, dyeing and weaving are my favorites when I have down time. I'd love to do more, though there just isn’t enough hours in the day for my fiber pursuits. My mother and sister n laws crochet and knit. We feel it is very rewarding to produce our own fiber and yarn for crafts and clothing adding to our self-sufficiency.