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Author Topic: Hand shearing and self shedding sheep  (Read 3564 times)

Dans

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Spalding
    • Six Oaks
    • Facebook
Hand shearing and self shedding sheep
« on: May 27, 2017, 10:04:36 pm »
Hi all,

We had our sheep hand shorn at the end of April. Two of them had been on rough grazing and the shearers commented that the fleece was a lot harder to shear and they had to go under and over the rise.

There was more fleece left on the sheep than when they were machine shorn last year.

Will the ones that had a rougher finish to their shearing shed it out, or will they need shearing again? Also one of the ewes  that had an nice even finish to her shearing has started to shed on her back. Does this mean not enough was taken off?

Thanks

Dans
9 sheep, 24 chickens, 3 cats, a toddler and a baby on the way

www.sixoaks.co.uk

www.facebook.com/pg/sixoakssmallholding

www.goodlife.sixoaks.co.uk

Red Merle

  • Joined May 2017
Re: Hand shearing and self shedding sheep
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2017, 11:23:19 pm »
April is quite early on for shearing depending on where you are in the UK.

Sheep which have been grazed on poorer ground and are therefore in poorer condition are harder to shear.

Blade shearing is designed to leave more wool on the sheep than machine shearing.  Competition standard is between 5mm-15mm if I recall correctly. 

I blade shear everything and given the cold conditions in April where we still had frost would certainly not have machine sheared anything. 

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Hand shearing and self shedding sheep
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2017, 12:33:11 am »
Hand shearing always leaves much more fleece length on the sheep.  It sounds as if your sheep weren't quite ready for shearing so early, if the shearer had to cut above the rise.  Ideally, hand shearing is not done until there is a good rise all over the body - only a few of our tups are ready to shear yet in late May.  They've been done now as we shear a couple at a time, not the whole flock all in one go.  The ewes are not ready yet, and some won't be ready until well into June, going by past experience.
Dans, you need to learn to shear/roo your sheep yourself  8)   For these ones, if there is fleece coming off in June, then gently pull it off, like rooing.  They don't need to be shorn again.
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

Fieldfare

  • Joined Feb 2011
Re: Hand shearing and self shedding sheep
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2017, 12:40:19 am »
...yes it will eventually fall off as the new growth pushes through (leaving a weak point which should break). Basically you sheared a bit (too?) early for Castlemilks. Prob. not a good idea to shear before lambing. Mine are not shorn yet and due to being incapable of turning a sheep at the the moment am going to roo it off them when it has fully risen (or actually fully moulted- one of mine almost goes bare!)- which is easier for me- and prob the sheep. A few of mine have almost fully shed but others are stubbornly not risen yet at all so would be a pain to shear and would leave an undercoat which would then be shed, like yours are doing. All normal and due to genetic differences, and the reason you are seeing differences in yours. Hope that sort of makes sense?




« Last Edit: May 28, 2017, 12:43:05 am by Fieldfare »

Dans

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Spalding
    • Six Oaks
    • Facebook
Re: Hand shearing and self shedding sheep
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2017, 07:31:11 pm »
Thanks guys, lesson learned. Next year we should lamb a bit earlier and aim to shear late May/early June.

Where do you learn to hand shear? I saw some courses on the wool board website but assumed they were machine shearing. Do you just buy the shears and have a go?

I'm getting better at tipping my sheep but there hasn't been much call for it, so not much practice. Half tempted to have a go at tidying up the two that were done over and under. If they don't surprise us with lambs in the next 5 weeks they are off to the abbatoir, it's looking more and more likely.

Dans
9 sheep, 24 chickens, 3 cats, a toddler and a baby on the way

www.sixoaks.co.uk

www.facebook.com/pg/sixoakssmallholding

www.goodlife.sixoaks.co.uk

Red Merle

  • Joined May 2017
Re: Hand shearing and self shedding sheep
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2017, 07:34:09 pm »
My posts appear to be awaiting moderation   however in the event you see this post OP contact the BWMB and tell them you are interested in a blade course. I have emailed them to ask to be notified when a course comes up. 

Where in the UK are you?

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Hand shearing and self shedding sheep
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2017, 09:19:45 pm »
You're probably best to see someone else hand shearing before you have a go.  They can show you how to recognise the rise, and judge when it's high enough from the skin.  There are good and bad ways of holding the shears, and a special way to hold and turn the sheep to keep the skin taught. Remember never to pull the wool as it causes the skin to tent and makes a big cut likely.
There are some clips on youtube, some of which, but not all, are good.
Mr F started by doing a Wool Board machine shearing course, then when he'd got the hang of that he adapted the method to hand shearing.  Having watched him shear loads of sheep, I have done some myself, mostly when they have a good rise, but now I find the contortions you have to go through a bit awkward.  He's quicker than me anyway.  It does take many sheep before you are confident of remembering the technique and order of shearing - not something you can learn just watching once.
Of course, with just a few self shedding sheep, you can roo them, and this is probably the best way for you.  No contortions, just sit on a milking stool in the sun, communing with your sheep  :sheep:
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

Dans

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Spalding
    • Six Oaks
    • Facebook
Re: Hand shearing and self shedding sheep
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2017, 09:34:47 pm »
I think I have one sheep I could do that with, most of the others will run half a mile on sight of me! Once they've checked I don't have food of course.

Might see about learning to machine shear then and give that a go first. We don't know anyone down here that shears at all for me to watch/learn from. The guys that did our sheep this year showed me a bit as I was interested but I doubt I'll remember that when it comes to doing it.

Dans
9 sheep, 24 chickens, 3 cats, a toddler and a baby on the way

www.sixoaks.co.uk

www.facebook.com/pg/sixoakssmallholding

www.goodlife.sixoaks.co.uk

bazzais

  • Joined Jan 2010
    • Allt Y Coed Farm and Campsite
Re: Hand shearing and self shedding sheep
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2017, 09:59:55 pm »
I just wanted to add Dans - I think you are doing so well with your animals - you always care - you are always looking out for them - always asking advice.

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Hand shearing and self shedding sheep
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2017, 10:19:42 pm »
We halter our Soay and tie to a fence post. We then roo what we can.

Any that are not shedding or bits that are not loose we trim using a pair of dress making scissors. Think it was Fleecewife that mentioned this method in a post a while ago.

No turning of sheep necessary.

We wait until most of our little flock are beginning to drop naturally.  Usually about this time.

Takes a little while to do them but pretty much stress free.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Hand shearing and self shedding sheep
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2017, 11:56:46 pm »
I used to roo the Shetlands tied to a gate, me sitting on a stool with my knees holding them front and back, then turn them round for the other side.  Sometimes the front is blowing before the back end is ready, then they get left with bloomers for a couple of weeks before that bit's ready to roo.
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

Black Sheep

  • Joined Sep 2015
  • Briercliffe
    • Monk Hall Farm
Re: Hand shearing and self shedding sheep
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2017, 05:50:36 pm »
Where do you learn to hand shear? I saw some courses on the wool board website but assumed they were machine shearing.

The courses are all machine shearing but the BWMB have said they are putting on more blade shearing courses this year. I contacted them about this, as I would like to learn too and they said they hadn't had sufficient interest. However they told me that they are now keeping a list (someone called Alison is compiling it), so I'd recommend getting in touch with your local rep and logging your interest. Hopefully they'll get enough to put some dates on.

Red Merle

  • Joined May 2017
Re: Hand shearing and self shedding sheep
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2017, 04:00:41 pm »
I've emailed them again about it over the weekend and told that Allison is compiling a list.

The more people that want the courses the better

Jukes Mum

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • North Yorkshire
Re: Hand shearing and self shedding sheep
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2017, 04:35:21 pm »
Depending on location and cost, I would be interested.
I hand sheared my forst sheep yesterday, but he'd already lost the wool on his head and neck and had a really clear rise so it was a doddle, but i expect doing it probably would be more challanging.
I need to know tips about how to position the shears etc as i don't hink the way i was doing it was the more efficient.
Don’t Monkey With Another Monkey’s Monkey

Red Merle

  • Joined May 2017
Re: Hand shearing and self shedding sheep
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2017, 01:57:05 pm »
Dan's I had a wee look at your Facebook blog. I now remembered seeing your post at the time you had them sheared.

You had them done pre-lambing which I'm told is the best time for shearing ewes because after they lamb the loss of condition affects the fleece which makes it harder to then shear them.

I've still not sheared my ewes. I have blade crutched them all but they weren't ready to shear. Next year I may try shearing prior to lambing circumstances permitting.

The guys who did your shearing are potentially running a shearing course if you send them a wee message.

The BWMB site does say there is 1 blade course but it's not got a confirmed date and you can't yet book it.

Jukes Mum send the wool board an email if you're interested in learning.  I self taught myself blades but had already done 3 machine courses and have got my Bronze award. I'm wanting to get on a blades course this year though. You may also find you're struggling because your blades may not be sharpened.  There are people you can buy blades from that have been done up so that they shear easier.

 

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