We sheared on April 8th this year. We were lucky that our shearer was willing to come out despite the Covid-19 pandemic. What crazy times these are!
We began preparing for the shear two days prior by corralling the sheep and removing their coats.
Emily, one of our shetlands, retained her tendency to roo so we plucked her and left her with a mane full of hay that the shearer will clean up for us!
"Rooing is a process used to pull or “pluck” fleece off sheep. A trait of purebred Shetland sheep, and a few other primitive European short tail breeds, allows these sheep to shed their fleece naturally in late winter or spring. A Shetland sheep is ready to roo when the old fleece has a break or weak point and the new fleece is starting to grow. Rooing has been performed for hundreds of years and does not hurt the sheep if its fleece is ready to roo. It is advantageous to roo a fleece because the prior year’s growth is removed at exactly the right point, leaving the new growth softly tipped like a lamb’s fleece. There is no loss in staple length or second cuts, which can happen when a sheep is sheared." Foggy Hollow Ranch
Our shearing day was warm, and sunny although a bit windy. Byron, our shearer, arrived at nine a.m. and had all 13 and 1/2 sheep sheared by one p.m.
I was able to set up the skirting table and work outside, skirting the freshly shorn fleece.
Ready for summer!
Shearing day is always exciting at the farm. We shear in early April which is later than most shepherds. We can do this because we don’t lamb and prefer to wait until the weather is a wee bit warmer. I don’t believe the sheep care what the temperature is, but it’s easier and more fun for us “people” to shear and skirt a fleece when we don’t have to wear gloves!