Shearing Logistics - Post II

Friday morning was foggy and dark, with threat of rain. Yet it wasn’t actually raining and we only had a small window of time in the morning to let the sheep eat for that day. Not all the sheep would be sheared today. The ones that were would be able to eat tonight. The ones that were not still had to be held in the building overnight for shearing school tomorrow. That means some were going to wait until tomorrow evening before they got a chance to eat. If at all possible they needed to get some food this morning.

I let the flock out of the shed first thing that morning. Around 9:30 am several ewes were lying down and chewing. To prevent them from eating any more Cajun and I pushed them all back into the shed which was quite a feat as by now the ewes were unwilling to go back in. 

While the ewes were outside I was busy inside again. Moving more panels around, setting up a second alleyway, and setting up a pen for the rams where we could easily release them up the alleyway to the shearing floor. Once that was done it was indoors to start preparing soup to feed the crew at supper and collecting items for hosting tomorrow. The outdoor toilet was moved up to the shearing shed and readied for the weekend.

Around noon it started to rain again. After lunch Cajun and I moved the rams from the Quonset up to the shearing shed and into their pen. All sheep were indoors and were dry.

The shearing crew arrived late in the afternoon and set up. Five shearing stations set up, the shearers alleyway to join to ours, wool table (old wagon bed) and the wool packer backed indoors, plywood set down over the muddy entrance, trailer to load wool bags backed into place.

We stopped for supper and began shearing around 6:30 pm. The rams were done first and were easily run down the race from their pen. Once they were done and outdoors, Cajun and I gathered and moved them off to another paddock where they could eat their first meal of the day and so that we didn’t have to worry about them mixing in with the ewes over the weekend. Then it was back in to the fire.

With five guys shearing the pace was hectic. Unfortunately we had three helpers back out on us, last minute. Cajun and I were working the flock keeping the race full of sheep. Allen and three others were run off their feet keeping up with collecting and packing wool.

In the back, I was also sorting the ewe lambs off to save them for the shearing school because they are a smaller size. I didn’t have my sort gate set up, so I’d pen a group of sheep and I’d manually sort small animals out. Then send the rest down the race. Cajun and I worked pretty frantically for the first while before we settled into the pace. 

Photo from 2011 (no time for picture taking this time)
Man that dog worked hard and when asked to push, he pushed. With where he is at I had to accept what he gave me and sometimes it felt pretty rodeo like, yet no animal was injured. There are several hundred animals indoors, and we’ve got one narrow place for them to go. It’s tight quarters for sheep and for dog. It’s very different work than moving the same several hundred animals on pasture where there is open room to move therefore they move more freely. 

When Allen or I had a moment of getting ahead with our respective jobs we’d each go help the other. So when I had the race full of sheep, I’d go up front and roll a few fleeces or grab a broom and clear the shearing floor of wool tags. Allen would come back and adjust a panel or help Cajun and I pen the next group of ewes.

It was fast, it was furious and it was over before I knew it but not before my body was long past exhausted. They stopped at 9:30 with 240 sheep sheared.

After that we started setting up for shearing school.

2 comments:

  1. I wish I could have come up to help! Larry moving cows up to his north pasture and I am knee deep in goat kids :)

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  2. Thanks Liezel. It all worked out as things tend to do. All the best with your goat kids. You will nicely finish with that and move into lambing!

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