Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sheep Shearing Day

I've been a part of the sheep shearing operation before. Growing up raising a few sheep for 4-H projects the day of shearing sheep was always a nervous one for me. I remember my first year of having an "overconditioned" lamb at the county fair made me paranoid every year after that my lamb would be fat. This led me to the point of being quite nervous for the final viewing right before fair when I would view whether or not my lamb without its wool was overconditioned or actually quite scrawny looking. Let's just say that year one was overconditioned and the majority of the years there after resulted in scrawny lambs. That wool can be so deceiving.

Todays activities of shearing were much different. These lambs are not going to be shown in the fair arena. The majority of these are going to market and the rest are getting ready for breeding action. Nobody cares how pretty they look, they just need a real good haircut. Shetland sheep are sheared twice a year for their excellent spinning wool. It was really a fun day seeing the wooly animals with a cream colored coat being shorn down to reveal a gray/brown coat. Pretty cool. Shetland sheep are also much smaller and have horns unlike the Suffolk and crossbred sheep I'm used to dealing with. It was great to remember the day so fmy youth and the crazy activity that used to go on with my father yelling at Tara and I to always be in some other spot than we were. Dramatic to say the least. Today was not so much dramatic, fairly easy I must say and these Shetlands are much easier to handle. I was quite amazed with the 60ish year old woman that came to shear the 18 sheep. With her sneakers and acrylic fake fingernails, she was far from what I was expecting as a lifetime sheep shearer. But then again, that's the grand part about this whole experience.....bashing all my expectations and giving me real life learning opportunities.

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