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Author Topic: How hard is shearing?  (Read 6049 times)

mebnandtrn

  • Joined Mar 2014
  • lower whitley
Re: How hard is shearing?
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2014, 07:42:46 pm »
Gosh you are good lady Gray!!  Mine look a lot worse than that! But no cuts and as long as you both survive....  ;D   Where are you, maybe someone here can come and show you/ help?

We are just south of Warrington, Cheshire.  M6 J20 sort of area.  Anyone able to come and point us in the right direction would be gratefully received with cake etc!!!
Voss Electric Fence

OhLaLa

  • Joined Sep 2010
Re: How hard is shearing?
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2014, 09:50:49 am »
I've clipped plenty of horses in my time and quietly consider myself quite good at it. I do a lovely neat job and I even clipped out my mental horse. So I thought, I know how to handle a pair of clippers, I'll give it a go. I went out and bought a good set of electric shears for the sheep (didn't want to keep swapping the heads over on my horse set), and made sure I had sharp spare blades, the lot.

But nope. Can't do it. Catching the sheep and getting them on their backs/sides isn't the problem (as a novice definitely an extra pair of hands needed though) for me it's because I find the skin beneath the fleece 'soft and floppy' (sorry, best description I can think of right now), it is incredibly easy to nick the skin. And it doesn't half give you backache.

Maybe if I hadn't the experience of doing horses I wouldn't have the comparison and find it so daunting. So I call in the sheep shearer every year.The guy that shears our flock has the proper kit, a harness to counter-balance his weight and a good back protector.

And I have a cracking pair of expensive shears as an ornament.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2014, 09:52:25 am by OhLaLa »

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: How hard is shearing?
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2014, 10:12:36 am »

And I have a cracking pair of expensive shears as an ornament.

same here but after nearly cutting my fingers off with them, i prefer the hand shears. my clippers are so loud too.
i kept mine as i in theory i can change the blade and trim the cattles belly before slaughter.

trish.farm

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • hampshire
Re: How hard is shearing?
« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2014, 10:47:17 am »
How hard is shearing?  ........  bl**dy impossible!!  Yep i am the same, can clip any horse, but try a sheep, even with hand shears, and all common sense goes out the window!!!  Nigh on impossible!!!   :-[

Crofterloon

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • Mintlaw
Re: How hard is shearing?
« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2014, 12:44:28 pm »
I found a few videos on youtube and tried a few shetlands and rare breeds last year.

I managed to do a few but I had a back problem last year so I never stuck with it.
Although I will get a shearer in again this year I will try and learn how to do this on some of the smaller sheep.

Its worth giving it a try.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: How hard is shearing?
« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2014, 07:52:00 pm »
Something to support your back is definitely worth getting.  Those bouncy harnesses look great but wouldn't do for us as we don't bring the whole flock in to shear at once, but catch them where we can and do them right there in the paddock.

Sheep skin is very soft, which is why the set pattern of moving the animal around as you go was developed.  It causes the skin to be taut all the time, no matter which bit you are doing.  For example, by bending the sheep over one way, the skin is stretched over a convex curve along the flanks, and by holding the head bent in a certain way the neck (and the major blood vessels) are far less vulnerable.  One of the bits which I worry about is the wing of skin under the arms.

With hand shears, I find I am less likely to cut the animal than with electric shears, because you are cutting through the rise with hand shears, so they are not so close to the sheep's body.  For invisible bits such as 'dividing the neck' guide the shears through by meeting the sharp tip with your fingers from the other side - you will not snip yourself nearly as readily as you would snip the sheep  :sheep:
« Last Edit: May 14, 2014, 07:54:01 pm by Fleecewife »
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Crofterloon

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • Mintlaw
Re: How hard is shearing?
« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2014, 10:14:35 pm »

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: How hard is shearing?
« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2014, 10:23:31 pm »
a lovely looking sheep, any idea of the breed?

Badger Nadgers

  • Joined Mar 2013
  • Derbyshire/North Staffs
  • Teeswater & Hebridean
Re: How hard is shearing?
« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2014, 12:37:57 pm »
Something to support your back is definitely worth getting.   [...]
Sheep skin is very soft, which is why the set pattern of moving the animal around as you go was developed.  It causes the skin to be taut all the time, no matter which bit you are doing.

I did mine for the first time last year and ached all over, especially the top back of legs. 

Getting to know a pattern takes a little while and if not sure it might be worth doing a dummy run.  That way you can check pens are set up right, they get used to going in them and being handled there, you can work out if there's anything you haven't thought of (a board to stand on, keeping cables to motor in handpiece machines tidy, where you're going to put car/generator, places to hang things, etc) and it gets you limbered up.   For a more accurate simulation or if you don't have a machine yet, try it with a brush instead and use it as an opportuntiy to clean debris off their fleece and trim their backsides (although the little beggars will probably run through a few gorse bushes straight after...)  I found the smaller younger ones more awkward as they tied to squirm more and had tos spend more time bent further.

it's well worth doing though.  You get a real good look all over them, and the variety of wool is interesting.  Mine were a litle apprehensive about me for a day or so after, but longer term seemed to be slightly tamer.

Dougal

  • Joined Jul 2011
  • Port O' Menteith, Stirlingshire
Re: How hard is shearing?
« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2014, 10:58:35 am »
Foe shearing a few of your own the simplest way is to invest in a halter so you can tie the sheep by the head to a fence post. Start by splitting the fleece by shearing all the way down the sheeps back bone while it is standing and then starting at the top and working down each side in turn. If the belly needs clipped then you might find it easier to turn the sheep onto its tail like you would to trim its feet so you can easily clip any belly wool. This is a slower way to shear and it means that the fleece comes off in two parts but it is easier on both you and the sheep and it allows you to see the skin all times making cuts less likely.
 
 
It's always worse for someone else, so get your moaning done before they start using up all the available symathy!

ZaktheLad

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Thornbury, Nr Bristol
Re: How hard is shearing?
« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2014, 11:33:32 am »
I can also give a smart clip to a horse but leave the sheep shearing to Philip the expert.  He makes a great job of it, is quick and with no stress to the sheep.  Clipping a horse can be hard work but sheep shearing is 10 x worse.  I will stick to the horses.

RonMinch

  • Joined Sep 2011
Re: How hard is shearing?
« Reply #26 on: May 21, 2014, 04:18:23 pm »
I did my 5 GFDs last week end for the first time the shearer decided he didnt want to do it this year. As someone already said, its technique, controller the sheep and the patern in which you proceed. I found the hardest part was getting started into the fleece. At one point my wife was horrified by the amount of blood on one ewe, I sheared in a 6*6 pen so I could let the ewe go when I was tired, it was hot last weekend! The ewe was at one end panting and I was at the other panting alas the blood was all mine clipped the ends of two fingers. In the end the sheep look OK but I dont think the fleeces will be worth much.

JulieWall

  • Joined Aug 2013
  • Cornhill, Banff
    • The Roundhouse
Re: How hard is shearing?
« Reply #27 on: May 22, 2014, 10:20:59 am »
Shame you can't get someone to demo for you but as you can't my best tips would be;
Wait until the fleece is coming away really well at the neck and tail because if you try and shear too early it will be really hard to do, especially clearing the belly wool.
Keep the hand shears nice and flat to the body and NEVER pull on the fleece, it lifts the skin and you will nick the sheep.
Watch some of those videos to familiarise yourself with the working sequence and get you confident.
Don't aim to do more than one a day at first, be nice to your back until you get the knack.
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