August 10, 2010 in General Info
Well we’ve had sheep for many years now and one chore that comes along with any wool breed is shearing. It’s a time honored skill, but not one I had ever had to practice with our sheep. See, all of our ewes and rams up to a couple years ago were Barbado, a hair variety of sheep. They get a bit of thick hair in the winter and then it sheds off when the weather warms up.
Then we picked up a ram that that was a wool variety to bring in new genetics. He was an East Friesian milking breed and a big gentle goof. Unfortunately the ram is a big woolly sheep who doesn’t shed. He had been recently sheared, so it was almost a year later before he needed his first haircut at our place.
So we started calling around for someone to shear him and since this used to be fairly big sheep territory we didn’t think it would be hard to find someone. Boy, were we wrong. No one shears any more, or if they did, upon hearing we only had one ram the phone was almost slammed down. So I picked up an excellent DVD on the process, purchased a decent pair of shears and set off to give the ram the worse haircut to which a sheep has ever been subjected. Don’t get me wrong, the instructor on the DVD was a master of her art and if I had a few thousand practice sheep behind me (and the flexibility of an Olympic gymnast) I could have done a pretty slick job. After that first attempt, it was pretty apparent that shearing one ram twice a year would never be enough practice to make this an easy chore.
Well, as providence would have it, as we approached the warm weather this year we came across a business card on a local bulletin board advertising shearing services. We quickly called them up and arranged a Saturday morning. The shearer turned out to be a young women leveraging her 4-H training into a business. Thank the Lord for entrepreneurs.
Even with her experience Remus had more hair than she had seen on any other ram. Heavy wool breeds just aren’t common in south Texas but she got right down to the job. She was quick and confident and maneuvered the clippers like a pro.
It didn’t take but a few minutes for her to have Remus slicked up and ready for summer. The removed wool weighed over 35 pounds and you could see how much more comfortable he was once he got back out in the field. If you would like to see a video showing some of the shearing, it is available on our YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/RuralDreaming#p/u/4/0kPK3S21cxA
Getting the ram sheared this year was a good experience. We got to meet a motivated young woman who seems like she’ll definitely make her mark on the world and the ram and I both got to avoid the stress of me playing with razor sharp shears near his sensitive areas.
- Tom of the Broken B