That is a question we get a lot and it is a good question! Why take away their wool jackets right before winter??? Here are some of the reasons we choose to shear this time of year…
- We lamb at the beginning of January and it helps to ensure (at least increase the odds) that the ewes will seek out the barn to lamb in.
- The lambs are born without warm wooly jackets on and the ewes will keep them out in inclement weather if they aren’t shorn. If they have the same amount of fleece on as the lambs, then they are more likely to bring them to the barn when the weather gets bad.
- Wool can hold a LOT of water. The ewes don’t mind staying out most of the day in the rain, grazing, and then they saunter into the barn and shake all of that water off in the barn…not all of them insist on shaking it off in the barn, but I am sure there are a few that enjoy it ;)
- Lambing with long wool on can be a messy situation. This keeps the whole lambing process a little bit cleaner. The lambs can also find the udder much easier.
I am sure there are other reasons to shear before lambing, but these are the top ones for us.
We have sheared a month before lambing in the past, but December can be cold here. We have been moving the date up a little bit the last couple of years and I am really happy with this date…this year. It is supposed to be 60 degrees tomorrow and in the 50′s all week. They will acclimate very quickly with these temperatures. We bed the barn with lots of straw and provide plenty of roughage for them to munch and provide energy to stay warm.
The girls were sheared this morning and had a little bit of sunshine to soak up this afternoon. Susannah and Sublimity were certainly enjoying it.
I love watching the fleeces as they come off under the skilled hands of the shearer.
Another favorite is seeing all of the colors and textures in the fleeces.
…and the crisp black and white contrast of the freshly shorn sheep
…or the various shades of lilac on this girl.
Everyone looks a little different, minus their fleeces. Some of the girls are very distinct looking.
These two look even more alike now.
No mistaking this boy - my buddy, Logan.
I can’t wait to play with his fleece!
Avalon was probably the biggest surprise of the day. She isn’t due until mid-January…wow!!!
Elan is one of the first time mama’s. She doesn’t look pregnant like the previous girl, but she hasn’t missed any meals either ;)
Happy Molalla, chewing her cud in the sunshine.