This year we choose to hire a shearer to come to our place instead of doing the sheep ourselves. Why? Because it took us about an hour to do EACH sheep! It is hot, buggy, sweaty, hard work and this year we had TWELVE of them to do. My shepherd mentor Karen highly recommended the shearer she uses from Wisconsin. We weren't sure what to expect.
I didn't get too many photos because we were BUSY the entire time. While David was shearing, Will was wrangling the next sheep in line and making sure no one escaped. Meanwhile, I was prepping sheep coats, readying the dewormer, getting bags ready for fleece and labels for the bags. After the shearing (which goes amazingly fast when you know what you are doing and have loads of experience), David rolled up the fleece and Will bagged it before grabbing the next sheep. David also helped me with the coats and gave me a couple of good sheep handling tips (he is also a shepherd as well as shearer extraordinaire). The sheep above is Chunk- she was the first sheep to be grabbed much to her dismay.
Doesn't she look excited?
I also had ready a handy can of antibiotic spray for any cuts or nasty scrapes the sheep may have got. I didn't need it. This guy is GOOD. We were very lucky to be able to get him to come this far east. After he tore down he hung out with us for awhile having a beer and telling us stories of shearing in Scotland and New Zealand. We sent him away with some of our maple syrup and a dozen boiled eggs and felt enriched by the whole experience. This is a Link to read about him in Grit magazine.
...and this is his handiwork. Miss Fancy looks AWESOME!
This year we decided to try coating some of the sheep. The suits are from the Rocky Sheep Suit Company and are made of a lightweight durable lightweight nylon that won't crush or felt fine fleeced animals. As a bonus, Rocky is also a very nice fella to do business with!
I decided to coat nine of the twelve sheep. The three that were not coated are Fancy, Cameo and Fallon. They all have extremely dense coats and get very little VM in them. Fallon is also cantankerous and I wasn't sure she endure it well! Someone also told me that sheep that have never been coated don't deal with the coats well but everyone seems fine with them which thrills me to no end...
Gaia and the other yearlings are modeling a size C, while her mother and the rest of the "mature" ewes are wearing a size D.
Finally, here is Chunk sporting her new "do" and her sheep suit. Some of them are a wee bit baggy so have been taken in with the ever so handy zip tie until their fleeces help fill them out.