Thursday, 7 June 2012

Time for shearing

 Well, its finally June and the sun is starting to shine, more often than not…even up on the moors!   Which means it time to start thinking about sheep shearing – which to any normal person (by normal I mean the majority of the population that live in places which they see more people than sheep on a daily basis) – would think its a simple job, we’ve  all seen those pictures on the telly of the farmy men & women doing their stuff and in a matter of minutes a duly trimmed and neatly fleeced sheep is produced.

 This is not quite how it happens in the real world!

The planning stage - first the sheep have to be dry  & clean, by clean I mean  sheep have two ends of business front and back.  The latter has to be cleaned which normally means it has to be what they call in the trade ‘ docked’  in  simple salon terms -  a Brazilian for sheep .

Once completed,  albeit with a bit of antiseptic  spray for the ones that wriggled at the wrong time the sheep are ready to go  to the next stage,

Ok for anyone who the nearest they’ve come to a sheep is a woolly jumper at M&S, it worth pointing out that an average sized sheep is around 40 – 50 Kilos with one singled mind thought which is to get away from you and the electric clippers in your hand.   My farmer friend who acts as our agricultural consultant – every wannabe  farmer has one,  his words ringing in my ears ‘don’t leave them any wriggle room  if they thinks they can make a break for it they will’

 So I pick out a ewe from the 50 or so sheep I am standing in and sit it on its bum and away we go, by the time I finished, we have something that looks more like a poodle than a sheep, and as for the fleece well let’s just say it looks more like moth eaten rag.  They should come off in one tidy piece you know!

With a bit more experience it does get easier, and with help of someone kind that has been shearing for years I am becoming better, he know does most  of them as I stand back to watch for learning  purposes you see, stepping in  to do the odd one here and there.  I roll up all the fleeces and bundle  them in a big bag, sweep up between sheep and generally be a lackey helper.

It is hot and sweaty work truly back breaking stuff, it  generally takes most of day start to finish and by the end I need to make a decision to go for Radox or beer  or maybe both at the same time, not sure the wife will let me get anyway with that though!

So the next time you think about that woolly jumper, spare a thought how it all  happens sustainable for sure just not for my back!!!!! J

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