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Author Topic: Tanning Lambskins - am I really too late?  (Read 709 times)

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Tanning Lambskins - am I really too late?
« on: December 04, 2019, 07:36:48 pm »



As per the title really. We have a wether lamb here which we had planned to home-kill for our own use, in order to keep the skin for tanning. However, reading up on https://www.organicsheepskins.co.uk/, it seems I might be too late!


Quote
Skins can only be tanned from animals slaughtered in the year that they were born or shorn.DOWN BREEDS BEFORE MIDDLE OF OCTOBER, but better before.
HILL BREEDS BY 1ST WEEK IN NOVEMBER.
There are slight variations on this timing. If you are not sure, just ask.
DECEMBER: TOO LATE FOR ANYTHING.

I don't mind having a go to see what happens, but before I do, is there any way to check if I'm too late? (e.g. would there be anything to see if I looked carefully?).


I guess our other option would be to wait until he's a shearling, but TBH I don't really want him around over the winter unless that can't be helped.


Any thoughts folks?  I had really thought he'd have been fine at least until the New Year?
« Last Edit: December 04, 2019, 07:39:07 pm by Womble »
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett
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Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Tanning Lambskins - am I really too late?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2019, 07:57:54 pm »
The reason for the cut-off is that once the skin is soaking in brine, the fleece can slip off and clog up the machinery.  This is because the old fleece has stopped growing and there is a pause before the new wool comes in.  This pause makes it more likely that the fleece will come off, probably in patches.  However, whether you are too late is an individual thing - depends on the sheep.  As you're doing it yourself and you won't have any expensive machinery to clog up, give it a go.  It will either work or it won't  :thumbsup:
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Tanning Lambskins - am I really too late?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2019, 10:15:42 pm »
Devonia have no restrictions on time of year, only on staple length.  We usually have a batch go away end Nov, just took our last 5 over this week. 
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Tanning Lambskins - am I really too late?
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2019, 11:08:18 pm »
Ah, I can see why the commercial folks don't want to take the risk then. By contrast, I don't think we've got much to lose. Watch this space!
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Zyg

  • Joined Nov 2018
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Tanning Lambskins - am I really too late?
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2019, 12:14:01 pm »
What process will you be using to do the tanning?

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Tanning Lambskins - am I really too late?
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2019, 02:46:48 pm »



Hiya, clearly I don't know if it's any good or not yet, but this is what I ordered, and from here:
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

lesbri

  • Joined Apr 2013
Re: Tanning Lambskins - am I really too late?
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2019, 05:02:38 pm »
Ive used this kit with ok results, the skins didnt end up very soft, but I think that was more down to me not working them enough rather than the fault of the kit. Quite hard work scraping and manipulating the skins to get them as soft as possible, but they made very passable floor rugs/dog beds. Good luck  :fc: :fc:

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Tanning Lambskins - am I really too late?
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2019, 09:02:48 am »
Well folks, I'm afraid it's not going to happen!

I caught him yesterday to have a wee look, and just parting his wool to have a look at the base of it made it start to pull out, leaving a small bare patch. He's still fine in himself, so I'm not worried, but there's no point in trying to make him into a rug.


I need to decide what to do with him now - clearly if he over-winters, we'll have another chance in the summer, but then he'll be a shearling rather than having nice soft lambswool. Any thoughts?


Also, I learned an important lesson on Friday. When a colleague asks you what you have planned for the weekend, on no account should you absentmindedly tell them what you have planned for the weekend  :o .
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Tanning Lambskins - am I really too late?
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2019, 11:54:12 am »

I need to decide what to do with him now - clearly if he over-winters, we'll have another chance in the summer, but then he'll be a shearling rather than having nice soft lambswool. Any thoughts?

If you let him regrow for about a month after shearing, the length will be ideal for a baby’s rug.  Checkout the prices; these rugs fetch even more than the longer ones.

And, IMO, it’s a myth that lambswool is necessarily softer or more wonderful than a fleece after shearings.  And I speak as a spinner of fleece with a lot of fleeces under my belt.

What I observe is the following :

- first fleece (or skin) is often soft but also can have brittle tips, or tips that are hard to clean, depending on what sort of a start in life the lamb had.

- the first sheared fleece quite often has a break in it.  This can be due to the lamb finding its first winter hard, or can be because the sheepkeeper doesn’t get to shearing the hoggs early enough - they’ve been growing their first fleece longer than the older sheep, and are usually ready a while before older sheep, especially if the older sheep are ewes rearing lambs.

- a ewe’s first fleece after having lambs is often pretty awful.  She will have put a lot into growing, birthing and rearing her lambs, and the first thing to suffer is her fleece.

- in subsequent years, many ewes balance their workload better and may have wonderful fleeces as they get older.  Some of the very best fleeces I’ve had have been from ewes after their 3rd or 4th crop of lambs.

- evil winter weather can make for fabulous fleeces next summer, provided the sheep had plenty of nutrients to get them through the winter.  The reverse can also be true, however!  :D




Also, I learned an important lesson on Friday. When a colleague asks you what you have planned for the weekend, on no account should you absentmindedly tell them what you have planned for the weekend  :o .

 :roflanim:
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Tanning Lambskins - am I really too late?
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2019, 12:03:02 pm »
<<< Also, I learned an important lesson on Friday. When a colleague asks you what you have planned for the weekend, on no account should you absentmindedly tell them what you have planned for the weekend  [/size] .>>>


Nor when your dentist asks you why you're a bit late for your appointment should you take the spent cartridge out of your pocket and say 'oh, I had to kill a sheep' (in this case an emergency).  That wasn't me, but it was Mr F.  Fortunately his dentist knows him quite well!


For your wether, I second what Sally says - try him a bit after shearing.  He will give you a very different type of skin for perhaps a slightly different purpose.  He might get a bit fat for the table between then and now.
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Tanning Lambskins - am I really too late?
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2019, 02:31:53 pm »
Thanks folks,

I think I'll just let him run with the ewe lambs over winter and then roo him early. Then we can take it from there.


One question - are wethers prone to urinary caluli, as entire males are?  I will have to feed the ewe lambs a little over the winter, so that will make a difference as to what I feed them.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Tanning Lambskins - am I really too late?
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2019, 05:12:47 pm »

One question - are wethers prone to urinary caluli, as entire males are? 

Yes, even more so.

Most “all stock” blends (usually 16%, which is plenty for ewe lambs over winter) have the additive which makes them safe, or you could just feed them all Dengie (or other local equivalent) grass pellets, to which I am a complete convert.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Tanning Lambskins - am I really too late?
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2019, 05:31:37 pm »
Thanks Sally. We actually buy our feed loose, in bulk bags these days, to reduce the cost (it's about half the price of individual sacks), so it makes sense to have one food that can do them all right through until after lambing.

I'll check what the options are though - thanks for the heads up.

"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

 

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