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Author Topic: Hand shearing instruction  (Read 7346 times)

thenovice

  • Joined Oct 2011
Hand shearing instruction
« on: May 22, 2012, 10:02:31 pm »
Hi all, wondered if anyone knew of any short courses or instruction in my area (kent) about how to hand shear the old fashioned way. I get my southdowns done by the pros (way too wooly), but i have few shetlands that havnt been shorn yet and i keep looking at them and thinking, shal i have a go? I know its harder than it looks, so some expert teaching is needed i fear. Thanks  :wave:

Fowlman

  • Joined Apr 2012
  • Wiltshire
Re: Hand shearing instruction
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2012, 10:09:15 pm »
You could always roo the shetlands if they are starting to shed. Doing mine tomorrow, i shall use the shears to tidy up.
Tucked away on the downs in wiltshire.

lachlanandmarcus

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Hand shearing instruction
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2012, 10:13:30 pm »
Have a go, I bet you wont cut them as much as a lot of professional shearers do because you will be taking the time. But ideally for hand shearing wait until there is a good rise in the fleece, the yellow greasy line a couple of cm up from the skin showing the split between the old and new fleece. Cut along that line and you wont go far wrong. Holding the clump of fleece firmly pulled taut and then having the shears at one end of the clump handle slightly down, scissor blades pointing slightly up in the air means you cant cut anything except sheep fleece and air.
I couldnt find any helpful info when I started and was soooo slow but last year I hand sheared 19 on my own, albeit over 3 days as otherwise it was tough on my back.
 

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Hand shearing instruction
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2012, 11:17:48 pm »
Holding the clump of fleece firmly pulled taut and .....

Do you really mean that as it sounds L&M?  If you pull on the wool you will produce a tent of skin which increases the likelihood of cutting out a big chunk of it.  If you position the sheep correctly, the fleece will fall away from the shears and you can see the rise easily to cut along.  To get the skin taut, place the flat of your hand on the shorn skin between you and the shears and draw it towards you gently  :sheep:
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

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

thenovice

  • Joined Oct 2011
Re: Hand shearing instruction
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2012, 07:35:25 am »
Thanks for the good advice already  :thumbsup: . Please excuse my ignorance, but what is rooing, is it like plucking the old fleece? And whats the best way to have them whilst clipping, i have seen pictures of people sitting down and lying the sheep down?? I saw a clump of fleece lying on the grass as i fed them yesterday, so maybe this hot weather is doing the trick

lachlanandmarcus

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Hand shearing instruction
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2012, 08:31:34 am »
Holding the clump of fleece firmly pulled taut and .....

Do you really mean that as it sounds L&M?  If you pull on the wool you will produce a tent of skin which increases the likelihood of cutting out a big chunk of it.  If you position the sheep correctly, the fleece will fall away from the shears and you can see the rise easily to cut along.  To get the skin taut, place the flat of your hand on the shorn skin between you and the shears and draw it towards you gently  :sheep:
Not pull it up, no, probably badly worded, more just with the flat of the hand, no tent of skin, rather the opposite, clearly showing the skin/fleece join. Probably the same as you do. Mattter of pride here that have never once nicked a single sheep during hand shearing :-))))

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Hand shearing instruction
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2012, 08:37:54 am »
Some one with far more experience will come along shortly  :thumbsup:    For positioning the sheep as you shear, your aim is to have it in such a position that the skin is stretched, and you are never trying to shear over a concave surface.  So for each bit you turn and move the animal, and move around it yourself, so that you are both in the best position - for one side, this position does have the sheep on its side.  Learning the positions is the most difficult bit of shearing in the beginning  ;D The best way is to watch someone else shearing, then have a go, then watch them again - and so on.  There are videos around - I think The Singing Shearer here has one.  :sheep:
L&M - I think the wording just came out wrong  ;D   People worry about cutting sheep more when hand shearing, but you get such a clear view, and the pace is whatever suits you, so I agree - no cuts  :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

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

FiB

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Bala, North Wales
    • Facebook
Re: Hand shearing instruction
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2012, 09:13:05 am »
Agree Fleecewife - moving the sheep well is the real art - poetry to watch (and way out of my reach to do for a while!).
I was in the same boat as you and cant recommend the singing shearer highly enough (though I'm guessing he's flat out at the moment?) - he came and blade sheared my 12 with instruction  and oppportunities for me  to have a go and I now feel confident to tackle the 2 that we left.  The key message that I learnt was that it's not a race and I'm not in a competition (so If I dont follow a certain pattern it doesnt matter) - as long as the sheep is clam and comfortable I can take my time.  I can even do it over a few days (dags and belly one day, rest another).  All in all a very liberating.  There is lots on you tube which is useful - but as FW said, being able to watch then have a go with advice is a great way forward if you can.  The wool board also do do hand shearing courses.  Good Luck :thumbsup:

toaster

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Hand shearing instruction
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2012, 01:48:47 pm »
I have this book and if I remember correctly there is a step by step guide in there. A friend has the guide photocopied and stuck to the wall of their barn
 
Its an american book but the information seems very sound  :)

gerpsych

  • Joined May 2012
  • Gwynedd
  • The beatings will continue until morale improves
Re: Hand shearing instruction AND Timing
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2012, 03:04:07 pm »
Hi All,

This has been a very valuable thread for me. Looking at my 7 Welsh Mountain Sheep in the blazing sun of 28 degrees I thought it must be about time to shear them. Is this right ? Is this the right month ?

Cheers

Alan

VSS

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Pen Llyn
    • Viable Self Sufficiency.co.uk
Re: Hand shearing instruction
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2012, 10:04:12 pm »
You might find something here: http://www.britishwool.org.uk/coursedet.asp?area=6&pageid=59

I did read some where that the BWMB were laying on hand shearing courses especially with small flock owners in mind.
The SHEEP Book for Smallholders
Available from the Good Life Press

www.viableselfsufficiency.co.uk

toaster

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Hand shearing instruction
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2012, 11:31:08 pm »
I've just realsied that the link doesnt appear in my post above - the book I refer to is called Barnyard in your Backyard

Bramblecot

  • Joined Jul 2008
Re: Hand shearing instruction
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2012, 02:23:26 pm »
Gerpsych,
Our shearer came today and I asked him when he was shearing our neighbours black Welsh Mountain sheep.  He said he would wait a couple of weeks because they will be 'too sticky' at the moment.  Different breed, diifferent time.  He said he would just dag them now, keep them clean and watch out for the flies.  We are in the West Country.  Hope this helps.

gerpsych

  • Joined May 2012
  • Gwynedd
  • The beatings will continue until morale improves
Re: Hand shearing instruction
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2012, 03:51:15 pm »
Gerpsych,
Our shearer came today and I asked him when he was shearing our neighbours black Welsh Mountain sheep.  He said he would wait a couple of weeks because they will be 'too sticky' at the moment.  Different breed, diifferent time.  He said he would just dag them now, keep them clean and watch out for the flies.  We are in the West Country.  Hope this helps.
Thanks Bramblecot,
I had just gone to the farmers' cooperative to buy something and was given the same advice by a local sheep farmer. He too said they'd bee too sticky for another couple of weeks.

Thanks

Alan

Bramblecot

  • Joined Jul 2008
Re: Hand shearing instruction
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2012, 05:19:01 pm »
He also said he would shear them if it was a welfare issue but it would be much easier (for the shearer) to do them mid June onwards  :) .

 

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