Lambs are often shown in competitions. To show the lambs off to their best advantage, it is common for the owners to shear the lambs prior to the competition. This gives the lambs a neat appearance and makes it easier for the judge to see the lamb’s muscles as well as how it moves. Lamb clippers are electric clippers that are used to remove the excess wool from a young sheep prior to its being shown.
When using lamb clippers it is a good idea to have the animal stand in the position it will use in a show. This helps to ensure that the shearing enhances the appearance of the lamb rather than detracting from it. If the lamb is standing in an awkward position it is easy to miss places that need to be clipped or to clip the wool unevenly. While it is good to have the lamb practice standing in its show stance, it should not be shorn too often. Frequent shearing may give the skin a loose, wrinkled appearance that is undesirable in a market lamb.
Lamb clippers are used on a show lamb anywhere from about 10 days prior to the show right up until the day of the event. The type of show and how long the lamb’s wool is supposed to be for judging controls how far in advance it should be clipped. A typical market lamb’s wool grows about one-third to one-half an inch per month (0.84 to 1.27 cm), though this can vary widely depending on the breed.
When using lamb clippers it is important to clip the coat close to the skin, but without cutting the lamb. The idea is to create a smooth, slick appearance that will show off the lamb’s features. Livestock combs with 20 or 23 teeth typically work best to achieve the desired effect. Alternately, the sheep can be sheared with special slick shearing lamb clippers, which will clip the wool very close to the skin.
Many different companies sell lamb clippers. Typically the clippers are also sold for use on other animals, such as goats and horses. Sometimes lamb clippers may be designed for dogs, but marketed for clipping small animals in general. It is important to make sure the clippers are powerful enough to cut through a lamb’s wool, since some lower-power types may overheat and the motor will burn out when they are overused.