Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Shearing 2014

As always, pictures will follow!  (This year, HannaMae took most of them so be sure to check out who took them: you may be surprised!)

Shearing!  Our annual time to catch up with our favorite shearer: Martin, and let our sheep turn on the AC!  And laugh at how silly the alpacas look without any fur anymore!  I actually mistook one for a deer yesterday…
            This year presented even more challenges than usual.  First, we had no barn.  That means, I had no way to guarantee that the sheep would be dry come shearing day.  One very good reason to wait until June to shear.  The second large challenge to having no barn is that now, we had no partially set up facilities for collecting, holding and feeding sheep into the pen with Martin to be shorn: We had to build something.  Luckily, we already have a stash of cattle panels and t-posts around for building various catch pens and loading chutes for sheep and pigs.  It took us a little while to decide on a good place that was flat, close to the house for electricity and big enough to hold everyone but once we did building something proved relatively easy.
            The fun part came when it was time in the morning to collect everyone in the chute.  While the majority of the sheep have been collected and shorn before, this particular setup was new (which equals extra skittishness) and there is always at least one extra skitter individual anyhow.  Add in younger lambs who scatter when herded like an ant nest when you stab it with a large stick as well as the alpacas who simply despise shearing day and never go the way you want anyhow and you have a recipe for sheep anywhere but where you need them to be.  Mix in one panel that wasn’t tied quite tightly enough and you get escaped unshorn sheep too.

            Stir it all together and you get lots of frustration, lots of laughs, luckily a good natured shearer, a great deal of learning and about 60 new fleeces that need new homes soon!  

Keep an eye out: we’ll post pictures soon! (Photos mostly taken by HannaMae!)

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