The basics of sheep shearing include using the proper tools, maintaining calm with the animals to avoid stress and potential injury, and using the proper methods for ensuring that the wool remains in good condition. Techniques can be easily learned for shearing sheep, although many breeders and farmers hire a professional shearer to complete the job for them. Sheep shearing can be time-consuming, so even seasoned shearers may need a little help. The most important things to remember when shearing sheep is to use clean tools, to clean the wool efficiently before getting started, and to avoid scaring the animals.
Sheep shearing should take place during warm weather, both to keep the sheep warm without their wool and to bring out the natural oils in their skin and add to the wool’s overall value. Wool is only sheared once a year to ensure that it is as thick and supple as possible, and it should not be sheared too late in the season when the weather becomes overly warm, because shedding may have already begun to take place. The wool should be sheared all in one piece, and sheep shearing should be done as close to the sheep’s body as possible.
The sheep should stand on a clean rug or mat during the shearing process. Before getting started, the wool should be combed and picked to remove any debris or feces from the coat. Sometimes a sheep shearing platform can be used to hold the animals’ heads in place and to make it easier for the shearer to reach.
After sheep shearing has taken place, the wool should be stored in a dry place before it is sold. Wool is used as bedding, clothing, and other linens and is particularly popular in colder climates, as it is very warm. Shearing does not hurt the sheep in most cases, but proper shears should always be used to ensure that no injuries are caused. Shears should also be kept clean and in good working order, and it is often a good idea to replace them as they age.
Sheep shearing can be challenging for those who have never done it before since animals are not always cooperative. Inexperienced shearers should always attempt shearing with an experienced person the first time around to learn the proper technique and to learn to interact with the sheep. Once these basic techniques are learned, shearing is generally fast and efficient.