We have been busy with our friends, Gail and Rob, shearing sheep. They have 4 and we have 2. They have also been clipping hooves. I wrote about that awhile ago.
|On to the shearing. First, wear very OLD clothes. The
sheep will be covered in lanolin and whatever else is hiding in the
wool. Now, plug in the shears, ours are Sunbeam, and make sure you have
oil for them. The lanolin will help keep the actual cutters lubricated,
but not the motor inside the machine.
Next, CATCH the sheep. Sometimes a job all by itself. The proper way to shear them is to stand them on their bottom leaning back against your legs. We lay them down on their sides because our backs won't take the pressure of the sheep on our legs and we find it easier to do them this way. We begin on the belly. Go slowly and follow the contour of the animal. DO NOT pull on the wool to get the shears under it because you will pull the skin up and cut the animal.
If there is a build up of lanolin or dung or any type of dirt, just go slowly and work it up with the shears as you cut. After the belly, shear down both sides and roll the sheep over until you have the whole animal finished.
As you work around the rear of the sheep, look closely for any raw spots. If the sheep haven't been sheared every year, they may develop urea burns on their backsides. A ewe sheep should have a urine stream that shoots out away from their body. If the urine drips down the body, because of a build up of wool, it will cause a urea burn. Hydrogen peroxide will take care of this problem. Just put some in the cup of your hand and soak the skin all around the raw area.
Do the legs and the head separately and you will have a totally different animal. Gail's ewe looked brown all over until she was sheared and then she actually was gray with black and white spots. Wow, what a difference. Her sheep are miniature Southdown Babydolls and they are very docile.
It is a great pleasure to spend a day with good friends and great animals. My wild outdoor Arcauna has started hatching her eggs today. We had a count of 3 this morning. More easter eggs in the shell. Jack is building another outside pen for our last incubator hatch as the other ones will be hatching next Monday and I need the brooder for them. Our brooder is a dog carrier with a light inside to provide extra heat. When the chicks start to feather out, we start moving them outdoors to acclimate them to the weather and then move them outdoors permanently when they are totally feathered. They love to eat the green grass and any bug stupid enough to come within their reach.
It would help if the weather here in the Northeast would warm up. It is a brisk 50 degrees here today. I love heat, and my gardens do too.
Have a great week and good luck to everyone with their gardens this year. Grow lots of food. Kathy