And Then We Were Done

With the majority of the prep work done, one of the last tasks on the evening before shearing day is bringing the sheep in.  Whether or not we place the sheep indoors the night before is weather dependent and so that they have empty bellies prior to shearing.  The mommas and lambs have already been moved indoors.  Then we brought in the flock.  The stock dog is in the upper right hand area of the photo; just coming around the group.




In the next photo she's working them across a wet spot.  The ewes try to spread and go wide, rather then through the water and the dog has to work the wings and keep the group together.  You can see her checking her sheep.


Working them into the building.  Starting the flow is fairly easy.  As the building fills and the lead sheep realize there is no exit, getting the second half of the flock indoors is significantly harder work. The dogs stay on task covering the back of the flock.


We chose to risk leaving the rams outdoors and bring them up at first light in the morning.  It did not rain so we were safe.  The next morning, as soon as the rams were penned, separate from the ewes, the ewes were moved outside to the alleyway, where they had more room and fresh air.  It's never a good thing to keep large groups of animals indoors for long, since the weather was in our favour we were able to let them wait outside.

From this side of the day, the best way to describe shearing is a whirlwind of activity.  This year we were ever so fortunate to see the place abuzz people who came out to help.  There were eight shearers here but only room for six to set up so they were able to spell each other off.  We usually have five shearers.  This was a planned strategy since they had a couple visiting shearers along and another large flock to tackle the next day.  The helpers were kept busy keeping a constant flow of sheep to the shearing floor, collecting wool, skirting fleeces and packing wool sacs.


The forecasted rain showers stayed away and it was a very smooth day on account of all the helping hands.  It was one of those hard work days spent in good company which, at the end of it all, leaves you feeling like all is right with the world again.  Shearing should be like that everywhere and always.

The night was cool with some frost but today the ewes had a warm day to adjust to their newly naked selves.



5 comments:

  1. This was so fun and interesting to read. I really enjoyed it. Sounds like a long but great time. I am wondering what dogs moved the sheep? They sure did a great job. The shearing must be like the climax for a sheep owners year.

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    Replies
    1. BJ and Coyote Mic. They did do a great job, very efficient.

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  2. Your blog is always so interesting. Updated equipment, but age old skills. Who do you get to do the shearing?

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. Appreciate your readership. Shearers are from within our province. Two visiting shearers from New Zealand hooked up with the crew this year.

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  3. Amazing..do the lambs and mothers not get very upset at being parted? or have you taken the lambs from mother already?

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