Shearing Day

Shearing Day

Not long ago was shearing day. Before had we have to get pens and shoots set up to direct the sheep efficiently to the shearer. I had to go get wool bags, from the Wool Co-op I got half bags this time. The full-size ones are too hard to pack, they are taller than me. We also got my nephew to come and help out. Wrangling sheep is best done by young people, my son and nephew.

There is a crowding pen is at the far end of the shoot so the sheep can fairly easily be pushed into the shoot and past the one-way gates. You can see lambs on the right-hand side. They are small enough to pop through the fence and get out of the way. On the left are some late lambs from last year. They have been put there to be kept separate. They are too big to get back through the fence.

Despite taking many pictures most of them were terrible and I didn’t get any sheared sheep pictures because I had to grab the fleece out of the way as my husband handed the next sheep to the shearer. By the time I stuffed it into the appropriate bag, the sheep was long gone.
so here are the best of the bad shearing pictures. I am not sure that’s all the same black sheep but you get the idea. you can see how brown they look from being in the sun and weather and how black they are underneath.


I also have one lincoln sheep named Dolly. You can see how different her fleece is.

These are some of the wool sacks. I was sorting black wool I want to look at again and white wool I want to look at again and the stuff to go off to the co-op because I don’t want to look at it ever again. LOL

And some close-ups of some wool.

This one has so much lanolin the shine bounced the light and it looks grey.

It took about 4 hours to do 55 ish sheep. That’s about one sheep every 4.5 min. I know it’s no record but I still find it amazing. When it was all done we released the lambs to find their moms. There was a lot of noise while the lambs work out who mom is now she is sporting her new summer look. And the kids my 2 grandchildren and great-niece and nephew came in and gathered up all the little bits of stinky wool to play with. They had so much fun and smelled just like sheep in no time.


I wish I had better pictures for you. Maybe next year with no pandemic I can have Jan come play photographer.

21 thoughts on “Shearing Day

    1. Your welcome Lyn, he is tall so it is farther down for him. the co-op just buys raw wool. Any and all wool. Your paid on the quality. Most people have meat sheep, this means carpet wool or lowest grade. It doesn’t pay to have the shearing done. I look at it as at least I get something back for doing something that my sheep need to have done. no one pays me to do anything else they need. Some people just put it in a pile to rot.

  1. What an awful back breaking job, just looking at some of the pictures made mine ache! I’ve been reading a book about a Welsh hill farm between 1945 and the late 1970s, and they were hand shearing so that the shearers would be sitting on a bench to do the job. Once they got electricity and went to machines they had to stand up, no doubt thinking “oh (or ow) for the old days”! It might have been quicker but …..
    The fleeces look good, looking forward to seeing what you do with them.

    1. I agree, it is hard work but I never once saw him rub his back or anything else. Maybe its just a matter of being used to it. He is tall too. I need to find the time to sort it. I thought life was supposed to slow down when you got older mine just seems to get busier and busier. My plan For dolly’s fleece is a face sheepskin rug.

  2. Must have been on one of the hot days, that poor shearer looks dripping. I know it’s hot work, but usually the perspiration evaporates, but not here, right? Too much humidity. Those fleece are gorgeous, love the grey. I’m looking forward to seeing what you do with them.

    1. yes it was during the heat wave. He did drip constantly. Its hard work, Though he makes it look easy. He is a very calm person. We were lucky though it was supposed to rain and if it had we would have had to close the big door and there would have been no breeze at all.

  3. Enjoyed this so much. We sheared sheep (small numbers years ago). Now I see how we should have done it!

  4. Interesting to see the sheep sheering method. I can’t believe he can do that many so quickly. Three months later, I would still be sheering sheep. And I wouldn’t be able to walk due to back pain. Glad you have someone else to do it for you but I’m sure it’s still hard work doing all the other stuff. Looking forward to seeing your Dolly rug.

    1. If we had only 2 or 3 I would do it on a stand myself but doing 50 is to much. I am glad to pay someone to do it. It helps a lot to have younger people around to help. I used to be able to climb over fences and chase down sheep but not anymore. I hope I can do my rug sooner rather than later.

  5. Ann you brought the hard work to life for all of us. The shearing is back breaking but so too getting the pens & fences erected & directing the stubborn sheep through. Kudos to everyone & in such a short time.

    Our next village is famed for having an annual autumn sheep fair (let’s hope it actually happens this year) & we often watch the shearing competition….although it is very late in the year to do it. Pens are erected in the market square & it is an opportunity to see all the different breeds at their best ! In the past I’ve been seduced & bought a fleece or 3, but my hands will be permanently tied & money out of reach if I go this year. Hand carding is so time consuming.

    You had me chuckling with the kids smelling like the sheep….the image of them having fun was so clear in my head!

    1. sounds like a great sheep fair. some of the long wool breeds get sheared twice a year. Dolly may get done mid winter and then get a coat. I will look to see how she is doing. The kids had a great time. nothing is as much fun as when you end up needing a good scrub in the bath.

    2. Thank you for the explanation re twice shearing….that now makes sense.
      Yep mucking about & then salvation in a bath!

  6. Thanks for an interesting post Ann. I must admit, like many others, my first thought was what a back breaking job! Look forward to seeing your Dolly rug.

  7. I love sheep shearing season. Not that I’ve ever worked in a farm, mind, but I’ve been to a few to do spinning demonstrations, and loved watching the shearing pros in action!

    I bought 4 new fleeces a couple of weeks ago and am currently making the most of the warmer weather to wash and dry them for processing. What will you do with yours, Ann? 🙂 That lincoln longwool is giving me itchy fingers 😀

    1. It is amazing to watch. demos are also lots of fun. I’ve missed doing them while we have all been locked down. I plan to make a fake sheepskin with Dolly’s fleece I am not sure with the others. Maybe I should grab one and get it soaking.

  8. One of my lasting memories Ann is takings the kids to visit a friend of mine who is a farmer. We were both completing studies in rural development at the time. It was lambing season and one ewe was having a difficult birth while we were there. My friend asked me if I would like to assist the ewe and provided the necessary long gloves. I will never forget the wonder of bringing that lamb safely into the world. It taught me more than all our years’ study did!

    I can smell the lanolin here as I read your post. Shearing is a real skill and I’m sure the Moms appreciated their new style – especially in the current weather.

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