It’s shearing time again!!! Fresh fleeces and clean sheep.
In addition to shearing the ewes, I decided to have the lambs sheared as well. Their fleeces are so pretty and they are starting to get full of hay and junk from being in the barn.
Sheryl agreed to shear the sheep in groups of 15 again. She came this morning and sheared all of the lambs and will be back in December to shear the ewes.
Here they are – waiting their turn…
You can see Magoo, the llama, in the background watching over the whole operation.
Here is Chance, looking a little confused about what happened to her!
I love the colors in this fleece. It belongs to this big boy…
He is a new addition to the herding group. His name is Thatcher and he is a Jacob/Border Leicester cross. I love all of the leicester sheep.
There are several lambs in the herding group that are too dark for the Jacob standard, but look at all of the black/brown wool I have now! It is beautiful.
My husband was here to help and it was so nice. He helped with the sheep and I was able to skirt the fleeces.
In order to show sheep at Black Sheep Gathering, which is at the end of June, it is necessary to shear the yearlings in January. The reason is that they need a certain amount of fiber to be shown and you also don’t want them in full fleece during the summer months. It has been on my list to get our two yearling rams sheared, but this year is just flying by! We finally sheared them today. I have had them in the barn the last couple days in order for them to dry off and I think they enjoyed the nicer amenities 🙂
Here is Rendezvous half way done. When I shear the sheep myself, I put them on a stand instead of the traditional way of sitting them on their butt. This is for several reasons – I am not very fast, I am not very strong, and I just find it easier 🙂
Now I’m going to start on the second side.
Here he is all done except for his belly. For the belly portion I have my husband help me tip them on their butt and he holds them while I shear the belly.
I love how clean they look after being sheared!
Next it was Reno’s turn.
Here I am with my little helper.
They both had lovely fleeces and Rendezvous’ was nicer than I expected – always a fun surprise!
Lucky boys get to spend a few more days in the barn.
I was really hoping that the mild weather we have been experiencing would carry over to today, but good old mother nature had other plans. I woke up to a chilly morning and was dreading shearing the rest of the ewes.
Here is Danica all bundled up, ready to go out to the barn with me. I’m sure there were a couple ewes that would have paid good money for her jacket 🙂
Luckily the sun came out and it feels good to have them all sheared.
There are a few that are looking very pregnant and some are starting to develop little bags, a definite sign that lambs will be here soon!
This is Rolling Hills Veronica, she is Reno’s mom. She has always been on the smaller side and I was shocked when I looked at her today because she seems to have grown this last summer. She is 3 years old. I haven’t paid attention to how long ewes grow. The rams definitely grow well into their 3rd year and it appears that the ewes do too.
I put them on a new pasture after shearing and Magoo decided that this man made concrete mountain was the perfect place to keep an eye on his charges. We have numerous concrete pads on our property from where the chicken barns were and my husband is slowly breaking them up and piling them to eventually haul off.
I am very thankful that Sheryl, my shearer, did such a fabulous job with my girls. They were all handled nicely and the fleeces are beautiful!
This post could have a lot of titles: Brrrr it’s Cold, Who thought this was a good idea, We’re moving to Cedar Pond (more on that later), Murphy’s Law is in full effect – well you probably get the idea…
The first round of shearing happened Thursday morning and that night it dropped down to 30 degrees!!! The previous week felt like Spring and now it definitely feels like Winter. It never fails that when we shear in the winter time, the weather makes a drastic turn for the worse and this year was no different.
This morning I woke up to blue sky and frost everywhere and boy was it chilly!
I started out by telling the girls that I was very sorry and that I would give them extra food. They promptly told me that they were running away from home and were going to hitchhike to Cedar Pond’s farm. They heard that Kathy gives her girls heat lamps to huddle under. They didn’t care how much extra food I was going to give them. So, to keep them from causing a pile up on the highway, I had to resort to turning them out on the green grass…
It may have been sunny when we started shearing, but the fog quickly rolled in and it looked like this when we were done…
and it just got worse as the day progressed. Luckily it isn’t going to be freezing tonight and they are all tucked in the barn with extra straw tonight, but if any of you see a group of Jacob ewes hitchhiking up I-5 will you please send them home…
We are doing shearing a little differently this year. I wanted to get all of the ewes sheared before lambing and the thought of shearing all 33 of them myself was too overwhelming 🙂 So, I called 6 shearers and left messages. In 3 days I heard back from 1! Why are sheep shearers and farriers so hard to get ahold of and all of them seem to be lacking in customer service. So, I called my friend, who is also the person that I got my first Jacobs from, Sheryl Zettle. She does a wonderful job shearing, but only likes to do 10-15 at a time due to an injury to her shoulder. I thought I would give it a try anyways 🙂 She very graciously agreed to do them on three different days and only charge me 1 setup fee. This morning was day #1 and she sheared 12 of them.
I love the look of freshly shorn sheep and I think the girls in the barn were a little jealous!
I love how clean they look and how black the black looks.
and the new girls that were so shaggy, look much better now! I can actually see what they look like without 2 years worth of fleece on them!
These 2 girls are sisters – Chevelle in the back and Liberty in the front. Their handsome brother resides at Mud Ranch.
Here they are as lambs, weren’t they so cute!
Unfortunately, shearing can also show you all of the bad things 🙂 This new ewe is just a little freckled. I had a feeling she was after looking at her fleece, but she has a few more than I imagined 🙂 oh well.
Not to be confused with freckles, poor Harley is starting to show her age and has developed quite a few age spots 🙂 I’m not really sure what the correct term is for these skin spots, but I have noticed that a few of my older girls are developing them as they age.
The other benefit of doing them in small groups is that I can skirt the fleeces before the next batch needs to be done! Part 2 is scheduled for Sunday morning.