Sunday, May 3, 2009

The shearing process

Start- tip the ewe out of the chute and set her up.  At 3-4 seconds in, he throws out the belly wool (trashwool- it's the shortest, dirtiest and least desirable).  Keep in mind she is 5 months pregnant out of a 5 month, 5 day gestation.  They keep the feet off the ground and control the head and neck at all times to minimize the struggle. 

 When finished, they push the ewe out for inspection, branding and dipping.  (Ticks, lice, fleas).  The fleece gets pushed out the back with their feet to be graded, sorted and bagged. 

The flock comes in to the corrals, then under the shed.  The shed is for surprise storms or for starting in the morning with dew free sheep.  Can't sheer if the sheep are wet and the shed has enough protection for a couple of hours of sheep shearing in the event of rain.  The end of this clip shows the sheared sheep in pens.  The pens keep each shearers count and also keeps them honest.  If one of them gets sloppy and cuts off an ear or teat or slices one open you know who it was and then you can doctor it.  
This is the back of the plant where "Kate" separates out the belly wool and grades the fleece.  She puts the fleece in the appropriate bin and the guy packs the like grade fleeces into a bale of wool that will weigh 350-500 lbs.  Each fleece with an average of 11.5-14 lbs.  When Richard was a little boy they didn't have a fancy "wool mashing machine".  They used big, round burlap sacks and Richard would get in them and tromp down the wool with his feet as it was thrown in the sack and would keep doing this until he "tromped" his way out.  The machine is much more efficient.  

And there you have it!  


Layne said...

You should work for Mr. Rogers, making videos for his Picture Picture machine.

I think this is very interesting.