Livestock

Shearing Sheep

Although wool prices have improved in recent years, it is still likely that it will cost you more to get a shearer to clip your sheep than you will get from the sale of the fleeces. However, shearing must be carried out whether it is profitable or not.

There are a few breeds, like the Wiltshire Horn, that do not need to be shorn because they shed their wool naturally but most breeds do.

Try to find a shearer who is happy to shear small flocks and is used to your breed, particularly if you have rare breeds. Work with him to ensure the best experience for all involved. Our smallholding forum is a good place to find a shearer.

Find a shearer who is happy to work with small flocksType your caption here.

Shearing is best carried out when the fleece has risen i.e. that the fleece has started to grow sufficiently to allow the shears to cut between the old fleece and the new.

Sheep need to be dry for shearing, so you may need to come and go on arrangements unless you have somewhere under cover.

It’s advisable to hold the sheep without food for a few hours before shearing to allow the rumen to empty.

We almost lost a ewe because, when she was turned for shearing, the full rumen was pressing on the diaphragm and she was unable to breath. Fortunately, the shearer noticed and turned her the right way up in time.

Rosemary Champion

About Rosemary Champion

Rosemary lives on a 12 acre smallholding in Angus, in the east of Scotland, where she keeps Ryeland Sheep, Shetland cattle and assorted poultry. She was destined to be a smallholder from an early age.

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