Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Plucking sheep??  (Read 14723 times)

springbok

  • Joined Jan 2013
Plucking sheep??
« on: May 10, 2015, 10:02:42 am »
I have six Castlemilk Moorits ewes who have started moulting. I was thinking of getting a shearer in but was reading that they can be plucked. Does anyone know how on earth one goes about doing this??

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Plucking sheep??
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2015, 10:29:23 am »
Grasp wool between thumb and forefinger and gently pull!
If it's ready to come off then it will. If it doesn't come off easily, then try another area and take off what does come off without having to use undue force.
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Plucking sheep??
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2015, 10:51:15 am »
Some years my Badger Face will shed most of their wool - it breaks off a centimetre or so above the skin surface.  They're generally left with a rather odd looking "bustle" around their rear end which the shearer removes and I suppose we could pluck off.  It seems to be triggered by a spell of mild weather early in the year, like the one we had in March.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Plucking sheep??
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2015, 12:23:37 pm »

Are Castlemilks a roo'ing breed?  Roo'ing is the correct term - plucking sounds rather painful  :o
I thought the main roo'ers were Shetland and Soay, occasionally Hebs.

They are ready to roo when you can clearly see the 'rise' about an inch above the skin - a clear horizontal line in the fleece with the new-grown wool coming through from the skin, the old on top.  The idea is to separate the fibres at that point, not to pull all the fleece off to skin.  It's the same line you would hand shear through.

The first time a sheep is roo'd it will likely hate it, but they do get used to it.
You need to tie your sheep to something, either with a halter or in a headstock (the latter if they're jumpy).
Working in the hot sun is best, as the new and old fibres will slide easily over each other.
Sit on a low stool (milking stool ideal) and start at the neck, where the wool tends to come away first.  Take a small lock of fleece in one hand, brace the skin with the other.  Pull and wriggle the lock - if it comes away easily, it's ready, if not, leave it another week. If only bare skin is left, you're too early.
Take your time, as rushing will hurt the animal.
 If you intend to use or sell the fleece for spinning, you can sort as you go - one container for dags and skirtings, another for useable, clean tufts of  fibre.
Gradually work your way down one side.  Usually the britch will be ready a couple of weeks after the rest, as Marches Farmer says, so you're left with pantaloons for those couple of weeks.
If you and the sheep are restless, do one side one day and the other the next.  Otherwise, retie when you've done as much on one side as possible.
There is a terrible American You Tube clip, supposedly showing how to roo.  Please please don't do it that way - she's not gentle.

Sometimes with Soay you can 'unpeel' the fleece and remove it in one go - it's a bit like skinning a dead animal, but obviously in this case the animal is living.

Equally, once you get to the same stage as when the sheep is ready to roo, it is also ready to hand shear.  You can do this using all the proper shearing positions, but I know many people who do them standing up, even one person who uses dressmaking scissors.  You need to be extra careful not to nick skin folds, but it's perfectly possible, especially when you don't have enough sheep to warrant waiting for a shearer.

"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

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

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

springbok

  • Joined Jan 2013
Re: Plucking sheep??
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2015, 02:43:26 pm »
Thanks - yes roo'ing sounds much nicer :)

I'd heard that castle milks don't need to be sheared and certainly our girls are looking like they're moulting. The wool is lifting up as described and coming away on its own. Ow particularly is left with some pantaloon styling going on.

Might have to look at tying them to do it - I don't think they'll tolerate me fussing without it.

kelly58

  • Joined Mar 2013
  • Highlands, Scotland
  • Home is were my animals are.
Re: Plucking sheep??
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2015, 04:08:20 pm »
You forgot to mention the Boreray Fleecewife ! One of my tups is sporting a very nice pair of pantaloons   :sheep:

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
    • Facebook
Re: Plucking sheep??
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2015, 05:02:18 pm »
I think there is a tendancy to shear no matter what  having left mine to roo (  most do but not all) I find their fleeces are much better the following year than if they have been shorn. Not to mention much nicer to spin!
Ravelry Group: - Ouessants & Company

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Plucking sheep??
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2015, 05:17:28 pm »
You forgot to mention the Boreray Fleecewife ! One of my tups is sporting a very nice pair of pantaloons   :sheep:

Oops, I forgot about them.  There are probably others too.

The pantaloons are brilliant  :roflanim:
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

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

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

springbok

  • Joined Jan 2013
Re: Plucking sheep??
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2015, 10:14:17 am »
I think might try the more natural approach this year then. I'd love to try spinning but have no idea where to start.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Plucking sheep??
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2015, 11:30:40 am »
You might get some help in the crafts section - we love new spinners  :spin:

If you're the sort of person who likes to learn in company, then it can be very satisfying to join your local Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers.  Look online for your nearest group.
They might also be able to point you in the direction of someone who will teach you.
There are also many beginners courses around the place - obviously you have to pay.

For me, I learned way back before the Internet made information access so quick, so I watched my ancient aunt a couple of times, got the sheep, bought the Ashford Book of Spinning, bought a wheel and got going.
Now though you can watch endless you tube clips on all aspects of spinning and associated crafts.  Spend a few hours looking through and see if it looks appealing.  It's much easier to see it done than to try to work it out from the written word  :thumbsup:
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

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

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Buttermilk

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Plucking sheep??
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2015, 08:04:10 am »
You might get some help in the crafts section - we love new spinners  :spin:

If you're the sort of person who likes to learn in company, then it can be very satisfying to join your local Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers.  Look online for your nearest group.
They might also be able to point you in the direction of someone who will teach you.
There are also many beginners courses around the place - obviously you have to pay.

For me, I learned way back before the Internet made information access so quick, so I watched my ancient aunt a couple of times, got the sheep, bought the Ashford Book of Spinning, bought a wheel and got going.
Now though you can watch endless you tube clips on all aspects of spinning and associated crafts.  Spend a few hours looking through and see if it looks appealing.  It's much easier to see it done than to try to work it out from the written word  :thumbsup:

I joined my local guild, got lent a guild wheel and shown how to spin with it all at the first meeting.  I bought some fibre off the sales table and have not looked back.

springbok

  • Joined Jan 2013
Re: Plucking sheep??
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2015, 08:09:07 am »
Oh that definitely sounds like fun  :D

I've watched spinning videos before and it looks wonderfully therapeutic. I think it's just the wool preparation which puts me off - is it horribly smelly?

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Plucking sheep??
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2015, 11:58:24 am »
Smelly?  No, not unless you're dealing with the fleece off a particularly old and rancid tup  ;D  But those go on the bonfire here.

I used to spin 'in the grease' when I first started, but I found my wheel started to clog up with dirty grease, so now I wash my fleece, in small amounts at a time, before beginning the prep.  Then I rub a little baby oil or similar over my hands before I work with the fleece.

If you accept that you spend longer prepping fleece from its raw state to where it can be spun, than you do on the actual spinning, you won't feel you're wasting time.  The success of your spinning depends on good fleece prep, so it's worth taking your time over.  You'll soon learn to love the smell of clean fleece.  I wash mine in a lavender scented wool wash which makes it very cuddleable   :hugsheep:

Some of the stages for you to look up on You Tube include washing, carding, combing, making rolags, dyeing fibre (if you want to).  Often watching one clip will lead you on to the next process.

As well as wheel spinning, there is of course spindle spinning.  Some learners start with the spindle, and this gives you all the information you need about the process of spinning.  A wheel, with all its complicated looking bits, treadle, strings, springs and fishing line, is just a way of storing what you've spun, and speeding up the spinning a bit.  I love using a spindle, my favourites being the Turkish spindle and a top whorl spindle.  You can take your spindle with you anywhere and spin as you stand waiting for the bus, or anywhere, even walking. Abbey Franquemont's book 'Respect the Spindle' is wonderful and will teach you all you know.   A good spindle will cost as little as a few pounds, then when you get hooked you can join the crowds of spinners who have a wonderful collection of beautifully crafted spindles of all weights, sizes, designs and woods and cost well under 50.  A new wheel costs several hundred, so a spindle is a lovely idea to get started and see if you like the craft.  :spin: :spin: :spin:

« Last Edit: May 12, 2015, 12:00:14 pm by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

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

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

clydesdaleclopper

  • Joined Aug 2009
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Plucking sheep??
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2015, 12:45:47 pm »
I haven't been able to roo as I'm in the middle of lambing so Alvin (one of last year's lambs) is sporting a lovely gorse assisted set of pantaloons


Our holding has Anglo Nubian and British Toggenburg goats, Gotland sheep, Franconian Geese, Blue Swedish ducks, a whole load of mongrel hens and two semi-feral children.

Thyme

  • Joined Apr 2013
  • Machynlleth, Powys
Re: Plucking sheep??
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2015, 01:12:34 pm »
This one chose to keep the feather boa rather than the pantaloons.  And her fleece was really pretty too -- I am for sure going to try rooing her early next year.  Her twin sister beside her hasn't shed at all!
Shetland sheep, Copper Marans chickens, Miniature Silver Appleyard ducks, and ginger cats.

 

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