There are so many sheep shearing guides over the internet but many sheep breeders still struggle to shear their animals. Most of the guides are quite complicated and difficult to comprehend.
However, this guide is quite unique and it tends to stand out from all those guides over the internet. It highlights step by step tips on how to shear a sheep with scissors or other sheep shearing equipment.
Sometimes it can be difficult to find a professional sheep shearer in your area and you will be forced to do it by yourself. You need to find out about sheep shearer for sale and learn more about sheep shearing tips.
Well, I got your back covered here. The guide provides information on how to shear a sheep step by step like a pro. Allow me to toss your mind in the ocean for a moment with sheep shearing tips described below.
What Is Sheep Shearing?
Sheep shearing is a process whereby the woolen fleece of a sheep is cut off. The aim of the process is to make your sheep happy and healthy.
To most people, sheep shearing is a dirty, sweaty and tiring job but to a serious farmer, it is the potential to exploit their skills.
It is recommended to learn more about sheep shearing in order to increase your yields, reduce stress or injuries to your animals.
In some communities around the world, sheep shearing is considered as a sport where sheep breeders compete on how to shear their animals within the shortest time possible.
Let’s jump to another thing and learn when to shear your animals.
When Is Sheep Shearing Season?
It is worth to note that adult sheep shearing is done once a year. In case you have thousands of sheep then the activity should be done in a shearing shed.
Sheep shearing is done in all seasons depending on the climate, availability of shearers and management requirements.
Rams can be shorn at any time but ewes are only shorn prior to lambing. It is recommended never to shear your flocks before or during winter. The weather is usually harsh and this can have a negative effect.
Shearing should only be done during the spring season since the weather climate is quite favorable for the wellbeing of your flocks.
If you are new in sheep farming then consider these factors in order to be a successful farmer. Let’s now learn about the signs of shearing your flocks.
Importance of Sheep Shearing
Shearing is a practice that is aimed at fostering hygiene and the healthiness of each individual animal. Most animals tend to shed off their fur, unlike sheep.
If a sheep go for long without shearing then it is likely to encounter a number of problems. Some of the common problems include:
- The excess wool makes it hard for the body of the sheep to regulate body temperature. The sheep can become overheated and eventually dies.
- The urine and feces can get trapped on the wool which forms a breeding ground for maggot and also flies. These pests will later make the animal unhealthy.
- The large size wool will make the animal immobile especially from physical obstacles hence making them susceptible to predators.
How to Start the Sheep Shearing Process
If you do not have experience in sheep shearing, it is recommended to call a professional sheep shearer especially if you have thousands of flocks. Although this will cost you some money.
If you are new in the industry and you do not want to spend any money then the following sheep shearing tips will be of great help.
Assemble Sheep Shearing Equipment
Getting a high-quality sheep shearing equipment is mandatory in this sheep shearing guide and it should be the first thing to consider.
Having quality shearing equipment will make your work easier and safer for both the shearer and the sheep. In recent days, many sheep breeders prefer the use of electric cutters than hand shears.
The cost of these electric shears varies a lot and I recommend you visit the nearest sheep shearing equipment store to get your cutter.
Direct the Herd of Sheep into a Pen
Direct your flock into a pen before commencing the task. If possible, you can gather the sheep into separate groups depending on their sex and age.
Keep the sheep dry and try as much as possible to prohibit them from becoming wet. Also, do not give them food during the shearing time in order to reduce the amount of waste they produce. Keep the shearing floor clean and dry.
Keep the Sheep in the Right Position
Keep the sheep in the right position when shearing. There are a couple of positions that you can use when shearing the animals.
Gently tip the sheep on its back then prop their shoulders between your knees for support. Expose the belly of the sheep while the four legs hanging in the air.
Ensure the sheep is more comfortable in order to reduce the struggle while shearing. This position is the most perfect one since it gives you a humble time to shear the sheep with less struggle.
Begin Shearing Sheep
It is recommended to start shearing the sheep from the belly since the wool is the dirtiest and not worth selling. Therefore, this is the best place to start shaving your animal.
Use a long confident blow to shear the sheep from the brisket all the way down to the open flank area. Start sharing the wool in between after placing the first blow on the right and the second blow on the left.
To make your work much easier, ensure the first and the second belly is wide set apart. The process of moving down the line while shearing will be easier.
Shear the Inside of the Hind Legs and Crotch
Once you are done with the belly, then commence on the hindquarters and the crotch. Keep the sheep firmly between the knees and bring the shear on the right leg.
Bring the shear across the crotch in order to get rid of the wool in a more perfect way. You need to be very careful especially when shearing the ewes since they have teats.
Cover the teats with the left hand that is not in use in order to prevent shaving off the teats of your animal. Remember any minor cut on the sheepskin will make the animal restless.
Change Position & Shear the Left Hind Leg and Tail
You need to turn approximately 90 degrees in order to change your position. Changing the position this way will help you to place the right knee in front of the brisket while the sheep foreleg between your legs and its left side exposed.
Shear the wool from the left side that is exposed from the toes upwards of the hindquarters. Finish the process from the backbone region.
Move your leg some inches backward in order to get access to the sheep tail. Position the comb of the shearer in a way that it will only cut off the wool without injuring the tip of the tail.
Make a blow on top of the tail upward along the backbone and repeat the entire process until the body of the sheep is clear.
Change Position Again and Shear the Chest, Neck & Chin
Hold the sheep back firmly between the knees by placing the right foot between the sheep’s hind legs and the left foot at the base of its spine.
Grab the sheep below the chin using the left hand and stretch the head backward. Bring the shearing clippers from the brisket to the neck then end your blow below the sheep’s chin.
Continue with the sheep shearing pattern ending at beneath the eye and the ears. Create parallel blows that will make your animal look exceptional. Do not nick the sheep ear instead use your left hand to hold the ears back.
Left Shoulder Shearing
Shift the weight of your body and maneuver the sheep around in order to get access to the left shoulder of the sheep. The skin on the shoulders is quite wrinkled and it is recommended to use your left hand to pull the skin taut.
Make about two blows starting from the animal knee to the left shoulder. Take this opportunity to remove the wool between the forelegs of the sheep.
Change Position Again and Shear the Back
Slide the sheep along your shin until it lies on the right side. Put your right foot between the hindquarters and left foot under the shoulder of the sheep.
The position is typically for long blows that run along the sheep’s back. Make a straight shear after placing it from the tail. Ensure the blows stay parallel with the spine.
Continue with the process until you have cleared all the wool from the left side of the sheep. Follow the sheep shearing guide for amazing results.
Change Position Again for Shearing the Right Side
This is normally the last change of the sheep position and it is typically aimed at shearing off the right side of the animal.
Swing your right leg around in order to stand upright with the sheep’s nose between your knees. Shear the sheep right side along with the head, neck, and shoulder.
Here, you will be required to undertake about 3 to 4 blows and take the opportunity to shear also the right forelegs. Make a series of diagonal blows once you are done with shearing the neck and the shoulder.
Shear the Right Leg and Hindquarter
This is typically the last step where you are supposed to shear the wool from the right leg and the hindquarter. Always remember to shift the right foot slightly while shearing without interfering with the comfort of the sheep.
This will also enable you to reach the right flank of the sheep while applying some pressure so that the sheep can keep the leg straight.
Shear in a curved motion from the flank of the sheep to its right hind leg. Finalize the blows on the hindquarter once you are done with the legs.
Congratulation on finishing to shear your sheep successful. I hope this sheep shearing guide was up to the standards that you needed. Thanks for keeping it here.
Skirt and Roll the Fleece
The process involves getting rid of dirty and invaluable wool from the fleece. Place the woolen fleece on the flat table for skirting. Spread the wool all over into a single layer. Remove any dirt and contaminate wool.
Roll the fleece after skirting. Always fold the long side of the wool towards the center then roll the fleece from one end to the other. The process is to ensure the woolen fleece is ready for sale.
You can read my article about starting a profitable sheep farming business in order to acquire more skills in the care and management of the flocks.