Shearing Party

  By Jordan Taylor, farm apprentice

Our most recent event on the farm was shearing day.  For most farms, the day before market is harvest day.  However, unlike other traditional farms, once a year our harvest consists of gathering the wool from all our Shetland sheep.  We have 19 sheep including ewes, lambs, ram lambs and full-grown rams. For this particular event we brought in a truly wonderful professional shearer named Elizabeth.  She has been at the job for over 5 years and lives nearby on Bainbridge Island.  We can definitely count on the best quality of work with this woman – and we make sure we take care of her and our friends  who volunteer  for the day by providing them with a mid-day meal.

 The process begins with trimming the sheep’s hooves; a pedicure you may call it.  The shearer will then work for about 10-15 minutes on each sheep cutting off all the wool.  Before we release them back into the pasture, we give each one a dose of garlic for worming and check their overall body condition, especially the pregnant sheep of which we have six this year.  After the sheep are back in pasture, we then take the fleece outside and skirt the fleece for about 10-15 minutes, depending on when the next fleece is ready to be worked on.  This is to discard any short cuts and vegetation that may remain within the wool.

 This year we put in new hay feeders to prevent the fleeces from becoming contaminated, therefore we have very clean fleeces and of a higher quality than  in previous years. Some of our fleeces will go to  sheep shows for judging and sale this year.  Other fleeces will be processed locally by Taylored Fibers into roving. Roving is a product that we sell to handspinners for spinning into yarn.

 We have a variety of colors such as dark brown, carmel, white, black, and grey. If you are a handspinner interested in spinning a lovely little Shetland fleece contact us  by clicking on the “Products for Sale”  tab.

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5 responses to “Shearing Party

  1. Excellent review of what’s going on at the farm. Great job, Jordan! Are you going to provide that cute little sheep above with a coat?

  2. anandahillsfarm

    As adorable as that may be we will not be doing that. The way to keep them warm is by feeding the sheep more hay and making sure they always have fresh grass to munch on as well as a coazy barn to get out of the wind in rain. The more hay the consume the warmer they will be.

  3. Hi Jenny, When will the note cards and calendar for 2011 be ready? LOVE your pictures of the farm animals.

  4. Please count me in to volunteer for sheering 2012. Keep me posted! StaceyB -in Quil.

    • Hi Stacey! Shearing day is so fun and it is really helpful to have volunteers to assist in the many tasks- moving sheep/assisting the shearer/skirting the fleeces. We always have a nice meal too! When I have the date set I will let you know. Thanks so much and hope to see you again soon! Jennie

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