Friend and fellow Jacob sheep breeder, Lynette Frick, (IDEAL Jacobs) called me a couple of days ago and said that her shearing crew would be working nearby and she invited me to come watch. Lynette started shearing a year or so ago by going to one of the shearing schools and then being hired by a crew. I am so impressed. I don’t know if it makes her mom and dad nervous, but since I’m not her mom I don’t have to worry–I just think its cool. I had never watched a commercial crew operate. They sheared 1000 sheep yesterday and hoped to finish today. The shearers are working inside a long trailer.
The sheep come in along one side and when the shearer is ready he (she) pulls down a gate and pulls the sheep out and over into the proper position.
These are Rambouillet ewes. They’re definitely bigger than Jacobs!
After shearing the sheep the shearer pushes her through a gate on the opposite side of the trailer.
This is the outside of the shearing trailer.
The shearer pushes the fleece under the chute where the sheep are held…
…and someone on the outside of the trailer grabs the wool and takes it to the skirting table. It is graded and put into one of four piles–fine, medium, coarse, or poor quality (weak, short). Fortunately most of this clip was going into the fine and medium piles.
The wool is compressed into bales.
Isn’t this pretty wool?
The bulk of the flock is white, but these are some of the markers. There is approximately one black sheep for every one hundred sheep in the flock. That way the shepherd can get a rough count of the flock. Coincidentally, this is the ranch where I picked up the black Rambouillet that I used for the socks that I had made last year. I will go back tomorrow to pick up the black fleeces.