Friday, March 30, 2012

Shifting and Shearing

It's been an active week for a few of the flocks. On Monday, Tharren and I helped Mike and Carl move part of the North Farm Flock to the Home Farm. Instead of loading the sheep onto a trailer and making multiple trips back and forth, we walked them down the road. The trek was about a mile long.

We were lucky that it was a low traffic day, otherwise we may have held a few folks up. The sheep behaved very well and relatively few stopped along the ditch for a bite of greenery.

Photo:  Ivan is demonstrating how to use a Heiniger One Shearing Machine

On Thursday three shearers arrived in the morning to shear the 250 ewes at the East Farm. A few of us helped handle the flock and collect the wool. The flock was separated into 3 groups: those having singles, twins and triplets. We keep them separate for management purposes. The triplets are fed a higher quality feed than the twins and singles.

In the photo above, Carl and Ivan (shearer) are operating a wool baler. This compresses the fleeces into the wool bag allowing more fleeces per bag than a conventional standing bagger. The wool bags weighed up to 300 lbs. The wool is taken to a wool mill and processed. Since it is coarse wool, it is not likely turned into garments. 

Photo: The shearers hard at work. Each shearer had a stall to pull sheep from. There was a person in each stall bringing sheep to the shearer. This reduced work for the shearer (catching and throwing sheep) and saved time as well.

Now that we are done shearing for the year. We can focus on lambing (which has recently started on the Home Farm).