Friday, March 13, 2009


Shearing went very well this year. Roger was here by about 7:15 Tuesday morning. The temperatures were in the 40's and low 50's throughout the day with grey skies and a sometimes light mist. We had all the sheep in the barns they were being sheared in (we shear in two different barns), snacks and drinks were ready and available, most of the help was assembled. Larry, Nicholas and my dad move the sheep into and through the catch pens and chutes. Mom and Annie (a long-time family friend) alternate sweeping the shearing floor, I bag and label the fleeces. We started with the dozen Shetland girls. Looking at the camera, we have Athena, Cricket, Nutmeg, Cricket's lamb from 2008, Maia and Brie.

Then we moved on to the majority of our flock - our Polypays, white and colored Coopworths, one Jacob and assorted crossbreeds. After most of them were shorn, we moved them back outside so they could eat again (we hold them off of food and water for 12 -24 hours before shearing). Even in the freezing temperatures, with no fleece, they prefer lying in the sun. They did come back into the barn for the night.

If you look closely, you can see that some of those bellies are getting pretty big. About 1/3 of the girls will start lambing at the end of March.

We sheared the majority here in our barn and then moved to our other barn to shear the remaining few ewes and our three BWS rams. We finished up at about 1:30 - Roger was having a cup of coffee at 1:50. 96 sheep in about 6 1/2 hours - I am forever amazed at how fast a person can shear a sheep! Roger had a 4:00 appointment, but the rest of us went in for an early supper of beef stroganoff, which Larry had very nicely prepared the night before. Then we collapsed on the couch for the rest of the evening, watching reruns of NCIS.
Now the barn looks like this - bags and baskets of fleece everywhere you look. I haven't started skirting yet - plan to tomorrow. The last couple of days have been very cold again and I prefer being able to skirt without being bundled up in all my winter attire.

Baskets stacked wherever there is room:

The Shetland fleeces go right into baskets and onto the shelves - I'll start with those. Some baskets contain smaller lamb fleeces, as well as some of the Coopworth, which are really much too big to fit, but after I skirt the Shetland, I start on the Coopworth. And for no real reason, I always skirt the fleeces in the baskets first. Just habit, I guess, as when we had a much smaller flock, all the fleeces went into laundry baskets. It is now more economical, both budget-wise and space-wise, to use bags.

So, how many fleeces do you think I can get skirted before lambing starts in two weeks?


Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Oh, that is a LO-O-OT of fleeces to skirt!

Traci said...

Wow! you are busy. I love seeing where the fleece I buy come from.