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Shear Bliss

Chloe Enjoys a Good Back Scratch

Several of the ewes gathered around the outdoor hay feeder in absolute bliss as they scratched and rubbed on the side posts. Moments earlier, our shearer had worked her magic, clipping all of the wool from each sheep and exposing their skin, which had not seen daylight since shearing a year ago. The first thing the ewes did after getting up from the shearing floor was to look for a scratching post.

Removing Coats

We all gathered around in anticipation as a new ewe sat propped up against our shearer’s legs. She begins by first clipping the wool from their underbelly and around their udder. If the ewe has been bred, her udder will look full. Then, as they get up, we can see their bulging bellies that were so well hidden under their blanket of wool. We have five ewes in waiting this year!

Shearing Bob

While Gwen sheared our two rams, we began pulling the coats off of all the ewes. We coat them through the winter months to protect their wool from getting full of vegetation. The winter winds blow fiercely on our hillside farm, and despite my efforts to keep hay contamination to a minimum, the wind has her way with the hay, and it inevitably blows all over the place as I carry it out to the feeders. Beneath the coats their wool stays beautifully white and clean. 

Gwen Shears April

Romney sheep have very long locks of wool, measuring up to 8 and 10 inches in length. Our big girls and our wether produce 13-15 pound fleeces every year. The fleeces seem to peel off their backs in one long luxurious blanket of wool. As Gwen finishes up shearing each sheep, she helps them to their feet where they stand and sniff the fleece at their feet. I wonder what they must think as they smell their warm wool lying at their feet. Then, once they realize their freedom, they hop over it and out the door.

It takes about 1 1/2 hours to do all of our sheep. Gwen takes her time and we chat between each one. Once she is finished, the fleeces line the barn wall.  This year, I send Gwen home with a pair of our wool socks as a “thank you” for her work! As soon as weather permits, I will begin spreading each fleece out on a skirting table to sort through the wool. I pull away the dirty wool with manure or hay in it. I hope to ship the wool off to the mill by the end of this week so they can begin working their own magic of turning our wool into wonderful yarn!

Sharing a Pair of Our Wool Socks with Gwen

2 Responses

  1. Jody

    It looks like beautiful wool 🙂

  2. Cary at Serenity Farms

    We just did the same thing a week ago and the sheep are still rubbing and scratching (and of course will stand contendly for a good back scratch from the shepherd, LOL!)

    Then I came down with strep throat, so no fleece skirting yet – ugh. But hopefully the illness will be over with before lambing starts in full force (any day now)

    Always glad to read your posts!