Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Gone With the Fleece"

Photo: Tharren was able to get outside and capture the shearing process, though it appears he used one of the cameras from "The Wizard of Oz".

The sheep have been shorn! Well, at least some of them have. Last week Dave Miller of Riverside, IA came down and sheared 29 sheep in about 2 hours. Mike and Carl collected and weighed the wool, and it turns out the ewes lost over 200 lbs! (The ewes should try out for The Biggest Loser.) I bet you're thinking we're crazy, shearing the ewes of their warm coats in the middle of winter, they'll get cold! There is still enough wool on them to keep them warm.

Photo: "A little off the top." This ewe was kind enough to pose for Tharren while it was being sheared.

The ewes are also pregnant and the removal of their excess wool will enable the lambing process to run a little smoother. The lack of wool will encourage the ewes to go inside to have their lambs. After all, we don't want the lambs first life experience to involve waking up in a snowdrift, that would be awfully traumatizing. The ewes will also be cleaner during and after the birthing process and their lambs will be able to find their first meal much easier without all that wool in the way.

Photo: Mike and Carl thought they could pull the wool over Mr. Miller's eyes by hiding Carl in the wool bag and adding his weight to the total wool collected (not true: they're just compacting the wool so more fits into the bag).