So Mark wanted to try and shear the sheep. We did end up with one looking ok, but then it didn’t go well even with some advice. So next step? Check out to see if you can find a shearer to come and do it for you and watch. Mark emailed a contact he found that wasn’t too far away, and she was able to come out yesterday.
We were sure nervous about the whole ordeal. What to expect. What would happen. Were we set up like they would like. Too much to worry about for first timers. Especially when we needed to pen them up and not let them eat from noon the day before. Oops. We both forgot that one till about 4pm. They did end up with less than what they would normally eat from then on but still a bit much. Especially when we had a system we thought would work set up to pen them without food but some water. And the way it was done would make it easy to move them to be sheared.
Oh dear, I looked out the window at 7:20am (they were to arrive at 8am) and the sheep had escaped and were happily grazing away. We ran out so very fast and tried to get them penned back up without feed. Yeah! Right! So a bit of feed helped with the ordeal. But then we only got a little over half in the pen that they couldn’t get out of. So shut them up and then tried again with the rest at a less secure spot. Thankfully, they followed in, and Mark stayed guard.
Kathryn and her boyfriend arrived and got set up, and we got to the job. They have just started in the business and got their certifications this year. So we were their tenth farm to visit. What was nice is that they like doing small flocks yet as they aren’t fast and don’t like to rush it as they are still newish at it. They take their time and are very careful of cutting the sheep and actually are quite sorry when it happens, as it will happen. We all got along well, and it went smoothly. Well, smoothly for dealing with animals who aren’t happy with what is up.
Above, can you see, not so little, Samuel with his tiny horns to the left of Sarah? He ended up with this lot while his mother was in the other pen. He decided he didn’t like this idea and needed his mother and the two of them held a loud conversation across the yard. Now, he could escape easily but wasn’t trying, and I tried to get him out which he wasn’t having any of. Life was just a bit stressful in the moment. He did finally make a break for it under the panel and got over to mom which had one side that the babies could get through Finally he felt safe with mom. Sarah, staring at us, wasn’t getting sheared today as we deemed her pretty good from when Mark tried her a few weeks before. Alas, she wasn’t sure why she was imprisoned with the rest this time. But it was much easier to have them all together than to sort them.
In the end, we had 9 sheep sheared. Three we declared good enough form Mark’s try. Above Rebekah had been attempted before but needed a new cut. So she is getting a second go in one season. I’m sure she didn’t appreciate that.
If you look at the pen behind. You can see that Samuel has made it over to mom. He is the brown littler one with his horns. All was now well for him. The four babies did all eventually get out and just go play. It is one the greatest joys on this small farm to watch the four of them playing together. They get along well.
And what is all this trouble for?
I had made a makeshift table to put the fleece on and do a quick sort of it and pull out the nasty bits and short bits and toss them to the side for the compost. Then I had some cloth bags I had made to stuff the fleece in for storage and wrote on each whose fleece it was.
So in the picture above, There are three bags over the fence of fleece. I had already taken some to the house. The pile of what would go to the compost is beside the sawhorse. Little, or not so little, Joseph is out of focus by the water trough. Oh, and with their eating that shouldn’t have happened? We only had one, Peter, who pooped in the process of being sheared. Oops.
When all was done, we went up to my fiber room as they were interested in the Great Wheel Mark had made me. When they left, Mark wanted to run to Tractor Supply so we went to Giddings and had lunch at Whataburger and then hit the store. At this point the shearing day was over but not the farm work day by a long shot. Lots more sweating (90F before we finished shearing) and work followed when home again.