Posted 06-20-2002 at 22:10:41
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Thanks for the info re shearing sheep Kiwi Bruce. It's 12 years since I left the farm in NZ, and haven't shorn many anyway...but have a few to do here in the States, so was cruising the net and searched for "shearing+sheep" and up came your post:--))
I live in Washington State now. We have three Romneys, a black face Dorset X s.o.b. (she can run rings around anyone when it's time to go in the yards) and a couple of Jacob sheep (cool horned dudes with chocolate/white fleece and horns). Plus four ewe lambs and a young Jersey steer.
Not quite the flock we had in NZ, but hey...who needs 600 of them to deal with?
I did a shearing course at Flock House near Bulls about 15 years ago, for a week, but the memory is a bit faded, so your post reminds me of the moves I need to make - the "step-through" and the long blows, and that sort of thing.
Question: Does the first blow start above or below the brisket to take the belly wool off? Or do you deal with the brisket when going up the neck? (I think the latter is the right answer, right?).
Actually, I was so slow at shearing (and got so annoyed too) that it was more sensible to get a shearing gang in for the job, and I just did the crutching from time to time.
Those professional Kiwi shearers can take the wool off a sheep while I'm still getting one out of the pen!!! What's the NZ lamb shearing record in an 8-hour day now? I remember it was around 700 (yep, 700) about 15 years ago.
But I'll tell you one thing I've noticed about shearers here in the US. They do a VERY good job, and I have yet to see any red spots (blood) on most of what they do.
Mind you, they charge $15 a head (YES $15 US a HEAD) - which is why I'm thinking of starting my own little shearing run.
No really big flocks here of course - usually just no more than 10 or 20 here and there.