My internship began today. I helped some sheep farmers near Minden with sheep shearing. I didn’t actually shear the sheep, we had professionals do it. I was a sheep mover. Some pictures…
The fleece goes into this bag. Farmers make about $0.10/pound of wool. An average sheep has 6 lbs of wool. It costs between $5 and $8 to shear a sheep.
Nobody is in the wool game in Canada.
The ladies all cooped up and waiting for their haircuts. Normally these sheep aren’t crowded like this. It’s just easier to catch them for shearing. In the background you’ll see a ewe and a lamb. The lamb was born this morning.
These are the razors the shearers use. They’re electric and are attached to motors that hand overhead. The blades are in the leather case. The shearing happens on plywood to keep the fleece clean(er).
Besides getting sheared, the farmer also uses this opportunity to give the sheep dewormer. This tool squirts it into their mouths.
The first two shorn ewes. Notice their udders? Every ewe in here will be giving birth in the next few days.
The expert shearers plying their trade. They’re a mother and son team from Peterborough. Jacob has trained and worked in both Scotland and Australia.
Here, Geraldine is trimming the sheep’s hooves. In total, they can shear, deworm and trim the hooves in under five minutes. I can barely brush my teeth in that amount of time.
Baa baa black sheep have you any wool?
Yes sir yes sir four bags full.
Each bag contains approximately 20 fleeces, weighing about 120lbs each. You would make about $12 per bag though it would cost you between $100 and $160 to get a shearer to fill it.
Why do farmers spend this much money to get them shorn? Health of the sheep. Imagine wearing a wool sweater in winter… awesome right? Now imagine wearing that same sweater in the summer…
Why don’t farmers just shear the sheep themselves? Well, some do. But these professional sheep shearers… they are amazing. Quick, careful and a whole whack of fun. It’s worth spending the money to have it done well.
Until next time!