By Linda Wendelboe
- Halter trained sheep may be shorn standing up while being held by a
handler, depending on the temperament of the animal and the amount of time
available (this method may take longer than the normal shearing with the sheep
on its butt).
- Hand shears or electric shears may be used but care must be taken to avoid
second cuts in the fleece and to avoid cutting the sheep.
- Second cuts occur when a portion of the fleece is actually cut twice,
creating very short fibres that reduce the overall quality of the fleece. It
is preferable to leave small ridges of short fibre on the sheep than to take a
"second cut" to remove it. Alternatively, patches or ridges can be removed
from the sheep in a clean up shearing after all the fleeces have been removed
from the shearing area. Any second cuts that do occur should be swept
away from the shearer as he/she works and away from the newly shorn fleece to
prevent contamination. A small whiskbroom works well.
- Sweep up and discard or vacuum all stray fibre and second cuts in the
shearing area before going on to shear the next sheep.
- Taking fleece samples prior to shearing is useful but fleece samples may
be reliably taken during shearing if not taken before. It is useful to mark
the sample before shearing. One way is to wrap the handful of fleece, which is
to be the sample, with a small elastic band. This bunch of fleece held by the
elastic band can then be plucked out from the remainder of the fleece once it
has been shorn.
- Keep portions of the fleece of similar quality together to go to the
- All fleece containing second cuts, urine, dung, mud, insect infestations
or excessive vegetable matter must be removed and discarded as soon as
possible to avoid contamination of the rest of the fleece. This is especially
true of any Birdís Nests.
Each fleece can be skirted as it comes off the sheep. It can be stored in
the collection bags until a secondary farm sort and classing at a later time
or the secondary farm sort and classing can be done at shearing time as well.
This will depend on the amount of help, experience and time available.
See: SKIRTING AND SORTING.
© Linda Wendelboe 25/02/05