Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Olde English "Babydoll" Sheep Shearer

This is Gwen Hinman shearing one of my Olde English "Babydoll" Southdown Sheep. Gwen is a tiny thing and full of energy and kindness. After she sheared my sheep she held them so I could give them each an injection of Ivermectin and an amount of pour on to be sure they have no bugs or parisites inside or out. The rest of the year I'll use my handy dandy microscope to keep track of intestinal parisites. Gwen then put the fleece on my shearing table (I use it for my goats when clipping them, another handy dandy contraption) that I put an old fence gate on to shake out my fleeces. I had no time to skirt my fleeces as she was so quick. The fleeces came off in a blanket, which is not easy with Southdowns as it is a very springy short fibered fleece. When you look at the fleece lenght it is about 2" long and when you pull it between your fingers it is about 3" long. Perfect if you spin using the double drafting method as this wonderful, soft fleece needs less twist to spin easily. It took Gwen about an hour and a half to shear them, and if my sheep had been more cooperative (I had them fenced in beside my shearing room to make sure they were dry and easily accessible to us!) she would have been done sooner. What a wonderful feeling to see all of your fleeces bagged and ready to clean and ship off either to a spinner or put into roving so I or another spinner can use this wonderful fiber. I put my lamb fleeces into roving so spinners and felters get the softest fiber. Tomorrow I start the cleaning process. Will take a picture to share of my dirty fleeces maybe tomorrow? Of course when running a farm that could also change. One thing never changes - Animals need to be feed each day about the same time. I go up the hill to my barn twice a day to make sure everyone is fine and clean stalls and feed all the critters. If a sheep is in labor, I make many trips or take my knitting and a pillow and wear my warm, zippered winter coverup. One of my family members usually brings me something hot to drink. Need to be warm and happy!

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