Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Shearing and Blue Tongue  (Read 2526 times)


  • Joined Mar 2010
  • Cornwall
    • Binty's Farm
Shearing and Blue Tongue
« on: June 04, 2010, 02:38:52 pm »
Hi all,

Over the past couple of weeks my little group of Ryelands have been looking a bit uncomfortable due to the heat.  I've spoken to some local shearers and they haven't been shearing because the lanolin hasn't risen in the wool (or something like that) due to the harsh winter.  I'm a bit worried about my girls and so have decided to try to shear them this weekend.  Can anyone tell me which blades are best to use?  I'm being lent some battery run clippers that have been used on alpacas; I don't know if they come with blades, but I think it is best to buy my own!

Also, I think I'd like to vaccinate my 5 against Blue Tongue, can anyone give me any clues as to how to go about this?  I know some sheep keepers/breeds don't, but I'd like to try to do my bit as prevention is better than cure!

Thank you!


  • Joined Sep 2009
  • England
Re: Shearing and Blue Tongue
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2010, 08:22:10 pm »
Hi, please read my topic below 'shearing' there were some very useful answers from a couple of members.
If you've never sheared before good luck, I'd done a bit but only a bit and I found the Ryelands quite a challenge, they are so woolly there just didn't seem to be a start point. Also the clippers got very gunged up and had to be wire brushed off to carry on clipping after about half a sheep.
Many people seem to do their sheep standing up, not the recommended way I know but if it works for you I'd go with it.
My Vet suggested I vaccinate for Blue tongue and said it is far better to be safe than sorry, I'm taking my vets advice on it.
Time flies like an arrow but fruit flies like a banana.


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Shearing and Blue Tongue
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2010, 12:46:43 am »
You get the BT vaccine from your vet.  It comes in 20ml and 50ml bottles and the dose is 1ml per sheep, given by subcutaneous injection.  Once the bottle is opened it has to be used within 8 hours.  Your first problem is that you only need 5 mls to do your whole flock.  Maybe your vet will be opening a bottle and will be able to give you the 5 doses you need - it's worth asking, otherwise you will be wasting a lot. We had to wait about 4 weeks to get some 20ml bottles but only a day for a 50.
When you speak of a 'rise' in fleece, it usually means the line of weakness in the fibre from the winter, before the new wool starts to grow in - this gradually rises up through the fleece in a line.  When you shear, you cut through this line, which needs to be above the skin - for hand shearing 1/4 to 1/2 an inch.  Perhaps it doesn't matter so much for machine clipping, but if your shearer says there is no rise then it's probably best to wait until there is.  If they are daggy, you can crutch them which will keep flies at bay.  Wool insulates in both directions - warm in winter, cool in summer, so they are probably ok if they have some shade and you watch out for flies.  We have done about a third of our flock so far - they do look smart  8)
Let us know how you get on.
"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.


  • Joined Dec 2009
  • Wiltshire
Re: Shearing and Blue Tongue
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2010, 10:44:17 pm »
If you don't have proper shear head then you are in for a long hard slog. I have just finished doing my 10 ewes mixed breeds and it took me half hour for the mules and around 1 hour for each of the Southdown crosses and Suffolks.  Only the last Suffolk and a couple of the mules were truly ready.  The others all had very oily backs and I used dagging shears to do those bits.

You can get Wizard blades to fit on Lister horse clippers but they are painfully slow.  I have now got a proper shear head and blades and will tidy up later in summer.  Currently looking for someone to give me a shearing lesson as I did all mine stood up and I think it's quicker turning them over.

Very satisfying though if you can do them.  As for blue tongue, definitely worth doing but see if there are one or two other small flock owners around and share a bottle.  Vet might be able to give you some names.

Best of luck!


Blue tongue

Started by waterhouse (15.2)

Replies: 7
Views: 3300
Last post October 18, 2010, 03:20:07 pm
by shrekfeet
Fevre Catarahl or Blue Tongue

Started by Farmer Giles (14.86)

Replies: 8
Views: 5157
Last post September 25, 2008, 11:45:08 am
by kanisha
Blue Tongue vaccinations Wales.

Started by kaz (14.86)

Replies: 2
Views: 2755
Last post April 18, 2009, 07:02:27 pm
by kaz
First blue tongue. First case for me this year.

Started by kevkev57 (14.86)

Replies: 3
Views: 3037
Last post May 03, 2009, 09:02:28 pm
by shetlandpaul
Blue Tongue Virus France

Started by kanisha (14.86)

Replies: 1
Views: 1296
Last post June 04, 2017, 07:31:59 pm
by Marches Farmer

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Ark Farm Livestock Movement Service

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2023. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS