Apr 3, 2012

Time to take it all off!

The day has come to shear the sheep! We do this one time each year. It is a very long day but we always use it as a teachable moment. On an already busy day we had 10 extra children visiting and learning about sheep and wool. All the robust children made the day even more crazy and fun. Campbell was in her element hosting barn tours of her hay fort and the sheep. Parker was maning the tractor and on the prowl for coyotes, this is his new favorite adventure "Coyote Hunting".
The kids play on the hay fort. They were covered in good
clean farm dirt.

We shear the sheep and sell their wool to Mid States Wool Growers. They sort the wool and grade it. Based on its quality it is sold for various end products. Horned Dorsets are a multipurpose breed for meat and wool. Our wool is predominantly used to make carpets.

The wool from each sheep weighs around 6-8lbs  

The sheep are removed from the barn and enter up a small ramp and series of shoots that take them on to a trailer where their wool is shorn off using electric sheep shears. The gentleman who shears the sheep has quite the slick process to safely and efficiently shear the sheep.
The sheep go up the ramp and wait in line
for their turn. They average wait time
is about 3-7 minutes.

Once all the wool is shorn off, the sheep jumps off the trailer and runs back into the barn and then out into the pasture. This whole process does not hurt the sheep. At times it may be a little awkward, this only occurs once a year. Sometimes they do get a scratch but this is one of the reasons we use a gentleman who shears sheep all the time. He is very good and very careful with the sheep.

This ewe waits to be sheared next. She has done this a few times,
she is a pro!

This is actually more hard on the person
doing the shearing than the sheep.

The kids and the dog "Clay" are visiting in the pasture.

Did you know that sheep can get a sun burn? Their skin
has been covered up all year with wool, you have to be careful
they do not get a sheep sun burn! Campbell and Parker think
we should have applied sun screen on all the sheep.

The wool contains natural oil which you may find in many of your hand lotions and creams. Lanolin is a wonderful natural product that the sheep produces in their wool.

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