Monday, January 28, 2008

calm before the storm

Happy monday.
All is quiet here....flurry of activity is winding down.....progress is bing made but slowly.
No sign of fluffy wool instead of a ram in the back pasture. It is cloudy with a little drizzel once in a while. Warmer tho. We ran out of our own clover hay this week, so have started feeding the only hay available in an hours drive...Alfalfa. Yup.....that crumbly mix of stems and leaf bits that covers the sheep as her neighbor happily chews her mouthful.
With that thought in mind....I am wondering if I can afford to have my sheep sheared this year.
Shearing costs nearly doubled here last spring because of gas costs mainly. So I have been wondering what I could do myself.
To that end, I would love to hear from anyone who has clipped away the wool from their own sheep....I'm not expecting many fleeces to be usable. so what did you use? How many times did you cut the sheep? How long does it take? Would you do it again?
Peeps trying to cut costs, and feed the sheep.


At 2:53 PM, Blogger Debi said...

Hi ~
I have 40 sheep and last year had 18 fiber goats. I shear them all myself for mostly the same reasons you mentioned. I couldn't get a shearer. When I could, it was always on his schedule, not mine. He sheared the sheep his way, not mine. Nicks, dings, and all out bloody cuts didn't bother him, they did me. One top of that it was expensive! So.......I bought a pair of fisker scissors and sheared my own goats. I didn't like using them on the sheep. I then purchased Andis clippers, made for womens hands. They were almost $400. Pricey but paid for themselves the very first year I used them. I raise Finns as well as shetlands and they have to be sheared twice a year. I had a couple of nicks and dings the first year but with your own sheep, you can do it at your own pace and I went slow. I like using hand shears as well. I do them on a shearing stand. My husband made me a wooden one and then he bought me a metal sheep stand with a ramp as a gift. A little grain as a bribe and they walk up the ramp. :0) I can do 3 or 4 a day after the first few days and take as much time as I need. I start in March and finish when I'm done. I get beautiful fleeces. Not all in one piece mind you but beautiful fleece none the less. I send mine all out to be processed so it doesn't have to be in one piece.

Good luck!!


At 8:17 AM, Blogger Becky Utecht said...

I rooed a few of my sheep and hand-sheared several others last year. It was much more peaceful for all concerned. It took me about an hour per sheep using hand clippers which cost about $20 from Premier. The handclipped fleece was fine to have processed into roving. I skirted the bad stuff off as I went along. That said, I do plan to have a shearer out this year because he does a better job of cleaning them up and he's great with hoof trimming too. Of course I've only got 23 head. With a flock the size of yours, you could save a lot of money doing it yourself. Best of luck!


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