Sheep shearing is an essential part of keeping your sheep healthy and for us the bonus is we get to keep and use the wool!
Sheep shearing has come up against some bad press lately and it is unfounded. In all practices of keeping animals, you could find welfare issues but the practice of shearing sheep itself is not cruel or painful. I don’t know any farmer who would allow their animals to be treated badly. Without shearing them they would overheat and be very uncomfortable. They are also prone to a very nasty thing called flystrike if they are not shorn. I won’t go into the details but it is very painful for the sheep and shearing them can help minimise the risk of this happening.
At shearing all the sheep are gathered together then one by one they are guided up a ramp onto the shearing deck. Shearers are able to hold the sheep in position using certain techniques. It only takes a couple of minutes for the fleece to be shorn off. The sheep then are free to go back out to the fields and they look so much better for it.
It’s important to us to keep the fleeces as clean as possible so they are placed onto a clean surface where we quickly pick out and straw and skirt them. They are then rolled and placed into bags. The good fleeces get sent up to the Felted Sheepskins studio to be stored ready to be turned into rugs at a later date.