SHEARING DAY

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SHEARING TIPS
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 sorting table.
     
  • 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.
     

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© Linda Wendelboe 25/02/05


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