It’s that time of year again when we need to shear just prior to lambing. We brought in a new shearer this year who was just fantastic and very quick, Emily Chamelin of Chamelin Shearing.
Our shearing process is two step. First all the good wool is removed (back and sides) and then we move the sheep to a different area where the less desirable fleece is taken off (head, neck, legs and rump). The idea is to keep the hay bits and dingleberries away from the best wool.
The best wool will then gets skirted, a process to remove the soiled edges. Mom and I will wait and do this on a warm, sunny day. It is a messy outside job. Finally this wool will be sold to handspinners, mostly at Maryland Sheep and Wool festival.
The seconds go to a variety of places. I have donated some to friends learning to spin and 4-H spinning groups, some lines the nesting boxes in the chicken coop and the worst gets composted. Last year I sent a bunch of seconds down to Florida to an organization that was stuffing pantyhose with animal fiber to make adsorbant booms for the oil slick.
Also at this time we do vaccinating, worming and nail trimming of the flock. It is a very busy, exhausting, productive event! More pics later as the wool gets moved along in the process.