Set to shear

Shearing day is set for the end of next week. It is a fleece farmer’s most exciting event! Before the shearer, David, arrives, we prepare the barn with a clean floor area where he can do the shearing. David shears electrically so we have a pole devised where he can hang his machine from, good lighting and by the time he arrives we have them all in the right pen with their coats off, ready to go. We put all the sheep in one pen adjacent to the shearing area (shown in top photo) and then one by one they are brought out, sheared, the fleece gathered, bagged and labeled, the sheared sheep then put in a separate pen with other shorn sheep. The one management issue is to shear a mellow sheep first and also last so there isn’t chaos for the one at either end in a pen alone. Sheep have a natural flocking instinct that comes on strong in situations such as this. Good old mellow Crystal ALWAYS is first or last and I am thinking Wetherby(shown at last year’s shear) may be the other this year. Jack and David will manage the sheep and I do the fleece gathering, bagging and labeling. I will also weight each fleece and record it on the labels. It is fast work for all, probably 1 1/2-2 hours for the 16 sheep. It’s fun though; lots of jokes, catching up on the year’s events, and at the end bags and bags of fleece to review! Many of the fleeces are already reserved and so begins my job of sorting, skirting and preparing for sale and judging. Yahoo, the day draws near!