Thursday was shearing day here @ Hamilton Farm. Eoin was here bright and early – brother Elliot was close behind. Shearing day is a big event here on the boulevard. I did not put the sheep inside during Tuesday’s s now storm – thinking that it would be easy to just brush the snow off of them. Come Wednesday Eoin & I had a big surprise .. the snow had crusted on the ewes backs – they love to lay outside in the storms and probably the warmth of their bodies melted the snow creating the issue at hand. It was decided to put the sheep inside on Wednesday in hopes that their body heat would melt the snow & dry them off. It worked! so come Thursday morning they were dry & ready for their haircut.
Jeff has been our shearer for many years – I like his work, his wealth of information, his quiet demeanor & his fun friendly personality.
The boys were happy to help Jeff set up this tools of the trade, while Kristen (their mom & my friend and neighbor) set up camp to watch the event. Once shearing began she was actually put to work opening the stall door to help Jeff get the sheep back inside.
Shearing went along smoothly – a very mesmerizing event .. a bit like vacuuming a dirty floor .. I would actually love to learn to shear sheep – I think I would be good at it. The first year I had sheep I sheared them myself. I would put them up in the milk stand and get out the hand clippers and work away. It took many hours! I did love it but definetly needed to streamline the task. I ended up doing it again the following year but then once I got more than 3 sheep it was just too time consuming so decided to give a shearer a call – amazing actually .. what he did in the short time – definetly worth the price!
For many years I waited until later in the spring to shear – thinking they would be cold. When lambing time came I found it a pain to have all that wool in the way. The lambs did as well – often having a hard time finding the teat and would end up sucking on the wool instead. Once I talked the idea around with other farmers I decided to give earlier shearing a try – again it made life so much easier .. I found that I could keep track of their udders better (which helps tell me when lambing is closer) and the lambs find it easier to find the teats. With weather these days it is usually pretty warm the end of March & with a barn full of hay they have ample opportunity to snuggle in warmth.
One thing tho – I find it difficult to figure out who is who without the wool … they all look “naked”. Good thing I have ear tags.
Here are some photos of the days event. Before shearing, during & after.