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Author Topic: Advice please! Shetland sheep 'rooing'  (Read 240 times)


  • Joined Feb 2021
Advice please! Shetland sheep 'rooing'
« on: April 19, 2021, 09:45:34 pm »
Advice needed from any Shetland sheep experts out there please!

First time I've had Shetland sheep and I'm a tad concerned that they are already starting to 'roo' - one of them quite a bit on the back half. It seems really early to me? I was expecting not until May....We're very high up in North East England and still having some colder nights occasionally even though we seem to have been having a mini heatwave in the last few days!
Should I be concerned or is this normal?  :thinking:


  • Joined Mar 2009
  • carmarthenshire
Re: Advice please! Shetland sheep 'rooing'
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2021, 11:59:44 pm »
not an expert but I'd say it's normal. when i had shetlands they never did roo fully and had to be sheared;  now have easycare which shed their wool: Some of them start early (one in February) and others hang on til summer (one in june), but the early ones are early every year and late ones late every year; the actual weather doesn't seem to change their shedding time; the February shedder was half bald when the Beast from the East came - surprisingly the cold wind didn't seem to bother her.


  • Joined May 2010
Re: Advice please! Shetland sheep 'rooing'
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2021, 12:42:51 am »
I would say it's pretty normal. Individuals start shedding at different times, and males usually start before females, ewes lambing often start a bit early. Ours are being assisted by helpful jackdaws which want a bit for their nests.  They usually start roo'ing over the shoulders and back, leaving the haunches til last.  So you can have a mostly roo'ed sheep, with big fluffy pantaloons wandering around looking like an idiot for a couple of weeks. Or you can use hand shears on the unroo'ed bits when you do the rest.
First shear sheep often don't roo well, so may need shearing the first time, some never are roo'able.
The way to tell if it's normal or is some kind of wool slip is to see what happens when you gently pull on a small lock of fleece.  Press your other hand against the sheep to brace the skin then wiggle your clump and pull at the same time.  If it comes away at skin level then that implies it might be something else, perhaps as a result of illness, lambing or similar.  If when you pull it, the new growth stays on the sheep, and the old wool comes away in your hand, then that is normal roo'ing.  With self shedders, they may start before the weather is ideal, but they have the advantage that they still have their new season growth as a covering, unlike shearing when they can be bald in a blizzard. Just because they've started shedding, you don't have to complete the process now.  You will lose some fleece, but your sheep will be warm.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2021, 12:49:01 am by Fleecewife »
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  • Joined Feb 2021
Re: Advice please! Shetland sheep 'rooing'
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2021, 08:11:28 am »
Thank you both that's put my mind at rest!  And yes that's a good point about not needing to do it all at once Fleecewife  :thumbsup: :hugsheep:


  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Advice please! Shetland sheep 'rooing'
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2021, 09:17:07 am »
Our Soays are starting to shed. I am getting several large handfuls every morning from one particular wether who loves the fuss and attention.


  • Joined Feb 2021
Re: Advice please! Shetland sheep 'rooing'
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2021, 01:10:48 pm »
Ha ha yes they do seem to quite enjoy it  :D
Thanks Richmond I'll stop worrying now  :relief:


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