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Author Topic: Sheep shearing small flocks  (Read 406 times)

emrobinson

  • Joined Jan 2020
Sheep shearing small flocks
« on: January 21, 2020, 09:27:04 pm »
Hi,

We have recently been fortunate enough to move to North Cumbria and are first time sheep owners. We have four jacob ewes and I was wandering if anyone knew of a shearer who would be prepared to do a small flock? Trying to get organised for when the time comes, many thanks.
Voss Electric Fence

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Sheep shearing small flocks
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2020, 10:40:57 am »
Your easiest and cheapest solution is probably to ask your nearest sheep farmer if you can bring your 4 over when s/he gets his/hers done ;)

Whereabouts in North Cumbria?  I used to farm on Hadrian's Wall, between Haltwhistle and Brampton :)

Feel free to PM me if you don't want to put more info on the open forum :)
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: Sheep shearing small flocks
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2020, 01:32:31 pm »
Have you thought of shearing your sheep yourself?  Jacobs are fairly big but if you have the fitness it really is worth learning to shear them yourself.  Sometimes when you have just a handful of sheep to shear, you go to the end of the shearer's queue, for simple financial reasons, so your sheep can end up not being shorn until August.  By that time the fleece might be matted and worthless and the sheep are at greater risk of fly strike. There are often Wool Board courses on sheep shearing, or some of the smallholder courses, you can also watch shearers at local shows competing.  The Wool Clip has an 'all things woolly' show at Cockermouth (Woolfest) where they have shearing demos.  The more you watch, the more you learn, then just have a go. Once you get the hang of shearing, you can do with hand shears what no electric shears can do - get both a good fleece and a good looking sheep, without the nicks and cuts some shearers in a hurry cause.
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

emrobinson

  • Joined Jan 2020
Re: Sheep shearing small flocks
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2020, 08:48:09 pm »
Thanks for your advice- it actually hadn't occurred to me to do it myself but is certainly something I will look into!

Dogwalker

  • Joined Nov 2011
Re: Sheep shearing small flocks
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2020, 06:39:19 am »
Agree with FW, it's the holding them still that's the tricky part not the actual shearing.I can't do big sheep now but do my shetlands with hand shears and my angoras goats - mostly standing in a headgate.It doesn't matter if you don't do it quite the same way as the professionals, you're not racing to finish.Take your time and do it carefully to not hurt you or the sheep.

GBov

  • Joined Nov 2019
Re: Sheep shearing small flocks
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2020, 08:35:12 pm »
Agree with FW, it's the holding them still that's the tricky part not the actual shearing.I can't do big sheep now but do my shetlands with hand shears and my angoras goats - mostly standing in a headgate.It doesn't matter if you don't do it quite the same way as the professionals, you're not racing to finish.Take your time and do it carefully to not hurt you or the sheep.

How does it work holding them in a headgate?  The only shearing I have seen is on telly and it looks pretty rough.

Hope  :fc:to have some Shetlands this year for the first time and yeh, shearing is my worry too! lol

Dogwalker

  • Joined Nov 2011
Re: Sheep shearing small flocks
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2020, 09:24:16 pm »
I do the angora goats with them standing.  Start by their tails, back leg, along the back and across one side, around the front and back along the other side.  Down the legs as far as I can.I can stand astride most of them and hold them with my legs so I have both hands to move the fleece and hold the skin tight.  I then lay them down on their sides to do back legs and bellies.If I try them sitting like a sheep I can't reach down the back legs.
The shetlands I turn and do about the same as the farmers do but they're much smaller and mostly don't wriggle too much.  by the time I'm shearing them the fleece is attached by a fine web of wool so it's fairly straight forward.
Where abouts do you live, try to go to some local shows and watch the shearing or ask at your local farms. 

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Sheep shearing small flocks
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2020, 10:14:00 pm »
Agree with FW, it's the holding them still that's the tricky part not the actual shearing.I can't do big sheep now but do my shetlands with hand shears and my angoras goats - mostly standing in a headgate.It doesn't matter if you don't do it quite the same way as the professionals, you're not racing to finish.Take your time and do it carefully to not hurt you or the sheep.

How does it work holding them in a headgate?  The only shearing I have seen is on telly and it looks pretty rough.

Hope  :fc:to have some Shetlands this year for the first time and yeh, shearing is my worry too! lol


Ah, it's different with Shetlands because they can be roo'ed.  This is where the old fleece is separated from the new growth by pulling the tips, while pressing with the other hand against the skin, no shears involved.  It gives a lovely appearance to the sheep - no tram lines, no scalped skin, no cuts, just a short fluffy coat, and a ready to spin bag of tufts.  I can describe how to do it if you are interested.  There is one particular you tube clip claiming to demonstrate how to do it, which I definitely do not recommend as the woman is very rough: you never need to be rough with animals, and in fact roo'ing can be a wonderful, calm, gentle experience for sheep and roo'er.  It takes a bit longer than shearing, quite a bit longer if you're me, but with only a few sheep that is unimportant.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2020, 10:15:39 pm by Fleecewife »
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

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Sheep shearing small flocks
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2020, 07:13:03 am »
I would add a word of caution to buying shears and doing them yourself. Its not as easy as you may think. I've been clipping horses for 30yrs and just couldn't get to grips with the sheep shears and every time I tried I ended up cutting the ewes.

I would look at local facebook farming/smallholding groups and post asking if anyone knows a local shearer. It is expensive to use them for smaller flocks as they usually charge a 'set up fee' which covers their travel, time and equipment and then a couple of pounds per sheep. Set up can be anything from £30-50.

GBov

  • Joined Nov 2019
Re: Sheep shearing small flocks
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2020, 10:18:34 pm »
Agree with FW, it's the holding them still that's the tricky part not the actual shearing.I can't do big sheep now but do my shetlands with hand shears and my angoras goats - mostly standing in a headgate.It doesn't matter if you don't do it quite the same way as the professionals, you're not racing to finish.Take your time and do it carefully to not hurt you or the sheep.

How does it work holding them in a headgate?  The only shearing I have seen is on telly and it looks pretty rough.

Hope  :fc:to have some Shetlands this year for the first time and yeh, shearing is my worry too! lol


Ah, it's different with Shetlands because they can be roo'ed.  This is where the old fleece is separated from the new growth by pulling the tips, while pressing with the other hand against the skin, no shears involved.  It gives a lovely appearance to the sheep - no tram lines, no scalped skin, no cuts, just a short fluffy coat, and a ready to spin bag of tufts.  I can describe how to do it if you are interested.  There is one particular you tube clip claiming to demonstrate how to do it, which I definitely do not recommend as the woman is very rough: you never need to be rough with animals, and in fact roo'ing can be a wonderful, calm, gentle experience for sheep and roo'er.  It takes a bit longer than shearing, quite a bit longer if you're me, but with only a few sheep that is unimportant.

I would love you to describe roo-ing, other than their size, colors, softness of wool, and tasty meat, roo-ing was one of the things that attracted me to Shetlands!

Ermingtrude

  • Joined Mar 2017
Re: Sheep shearing small flocks
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2020, 11:15:07 pm »
We have had between 4 ( I did them myself, spent more on ibuprofen for the back pain after ) and 16, and after the first lot ( back pain was bad - to be fair I have been a nurse for many many more years than I want to admit, so back pain is a given ) and 16, and each year since got them done by a professional. Advertised on a facebook group, as well as other small holder groups, we accepted paying a set amount (£50) for anything under 25 sheep, then a per-sheep rate after ( we don't, and will not have that many) So now we contact the person, and for £50 we get any amount under 25 sheep shorn, and he brings a generator, and I get the sheep into a small pen accessible by his truck and trailer, and he does them all. I fit in with with whatever date he and time he wants, and it is a lot easier. No wounds, no stress, takes about an hour, and he is kind and careful with them. I send the wool to a friend of a friend of a friends Mum, who spins it , and sends me a few balls of wool, and I made a scarf. It was ugly. I shall stick to other things.

Worth looking online for small company people who will do small numbers, and negotiate a good price for fitting in with their timescale.

 

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