June 6, 2010

Shearing Days

We sheared the Angoras herd a couple of weeks ago, well Mothers Day to be exact. Decided to shear Selena as well that day... ran into the dreaded greasy rise. To avoid gumming up the shears I took to scissor- shearing her remaining fleece. Ugh! A chore to say the least, though she is sheared.

Greasy rise is a booger to deal with so we waited until the Sunday before Memorial Day to shear the Shetland flock hoping it would be gone. Perfect timing, greasy rise gone, the shears went through their fleece as if it were a warm knife cutting butter.

It takes both Jim and I to shear. Jim pretty much gets the job of escorting the sheep from where ever they might be penned to the shearing table. Our boys seem to know something is up and resist all efforts of being caught, confined or haltered. I purely am not strong enough to fight the fight it takes to move the boys. I can't hold on to them while they popcorn up and down, twist and turn to avoid being handled.

Once they are on the shearing stand they are quiet and still. I can then shear. After shearing Jim gives their yearly vaccinations, I give de-wormer if needed, we take turns trimming hooves, apply the BOSS down their backline, feed a handful of animal crackers along with a lot of praise and good boys. Off the stand they go, on to the next we go.

Our plan was to shear Jackdaw first, then Kelly so both were in the catch pen. We also thought by putting Kelly in the catch pen with Jackdaw for company it would not stress them so badly. While Jim went to halter Jackdaw, I held the gate closed. Jim brought Jackie to the gate, Kelly stood quietly in the back ... the moment I cracked the gate open Kelly saw freedom and bolted! He actually was out of the pen before Jim and Jackdaw, using Jackdaw as a spring board out the gate. Lesson learned - only one sheep in catch pen to shearing stand.

Poor Kelly was not having anything to do with shearing. He was outta there! He headed straight back to the pasture gate, which was open and went to his shelter. We attempted to catch him later on in the day after everyone else was sheared with no luck. Instead of stressing the poor guy any more, plus we were worn slick from the days work we decided shear him the next morning. Always a simple task to catch at feeding time. While they are busy munching we sneak in for the catch.

We finished shearing in the nick of time. The heat of summer arrived quickly after Memorial Day.

I have began re-skirting the fleeces ( I do some the day of shearing, though go back over them a second time when things are quiet). Will have them bagged, tagged and sorted soon. Sister came to visit for two weeks. The days she felt well enough she sat outside with me, knitting while I sorted through the fleece.


Tammy said...

Kelly's grandmother would be SO proud. ;-) Rouen watches everything and she bides her time. Even the shearer knows now that we have to reinforce the catch pen to keep her and her daughter from wiggling under or darting to freedom. I always halter her now and she is the only little sheepie in the pen that has a halter and lead rope on while waiting. She had slowed down a bit this year at ten years of age though...
Glad you got them all sheared. What a job. Are the fleeces cleaner than last year? I know the lambs always seem to trash theirs.

Anonymous said...

I remember those days when we raised Shetland sheep.


JK said...

Tammy the girls fleece seem to be cleaner than the boys. Jackies was pretty good. Just now getting to sort through all, second time around.

Thanks Amy