Friday, February 12, 2010

Shorn the sheep

I thought I'd share these photos of shearing day 2010, when we engaged a shearer to come and give our sheep their annual short back and sides.
Shearing is hard work. Although it wasn't a particularly hot day when the shearer came, he was soon sweating up a storm. He was a study of strength and dexterity. Holding down a wriggling sheep (up to 40kg) with one arm while wielding a set of electric shear with the other and shearing the sheep quickly and without injuring the sheep is an amazing skill.
Having the sheep together in an enclosure also gave us the opportunity to drench the sheep for worms. In our humid temperate climate, worms are endemic. Barber pole worm is the worst. A healthy sheep can die in a very short time if it gets infected with these worms. Despite what the term suggests "drench" simply means dosing them with a syringe directed into the side of their mouths.
Shearing nine sheep took just over an hour. It's amazing how difficult it is to tell them apart when they without their fleece.
The shearer takes the fleece as part payment and sells it at the wool market in Goulburn (about 2 hours from here). Our fleece is not great quality. According to the shearer, it will end up as low end yarn for use in things such as tennis balls covers.
The girls are now in season , and part of the regime at the moment is to feed them a handful of lupins a day. This encourages their brains to think that times are good, and thus release two eggs, so they have twins. That's the theory. Let's see what happens...


Tracy said...

It sure is hard to tell them apart when they are first shorn. Our black sheep is the strangest though because the sun bleaches the ends of her fleece to a reddish brown and when shorn,she is jet black again.It's like having a new sheep. We shear our own and the suffolks and suffolk crosses only bring in a couple of dolars per fleece.

Paola said...

Wow Tracy, you shear your flock yourselves? I'm in awe! Action Man tried his hand and the results were not pretty!