Monday, January 21, 2008

Shearing decisions and cold weather

Yesterday I trimmed everyone's hooves and dewclaws, and changed coats on Braveheart's girls. (Brava needs her coat changed, too, but I'm going to wash the one she needs first.) I LOVE to see and feel that pristine fleece when I pull coats off! But I was a bit surprised at the length of wool under the coats; it wasn't as long as I expected it to be. Now I'm rethinking their shearing date, which is scheduled for Feb. 27. I'll go ahead with Bella, Brava and Braveheart, as they all have a full year's growth and I want Brava and Braveheart to have good growth for the Black Sheep Gathering in June. The "ladies," though, will only have five months' growth, and unless they grow a lot in five weeks, they won't have the length I'd prefer. I'll wait six more weeks for the farrier's next visit, and just trim them up if it looks like we'll have lambs before then. This past year was an experiment in shearing twice a year, and it may be the last time I do it!

If anything is going to send my sheep into overtime wool production, it should be this weather. No, we're not even close to the extremes that other parts of the country are getting (no thanks; been there, done that!), but it's quite cold for here, and windy, too. It's rather nice, actually. There's no mud, the horse stalls and yard are easy to clean when the all the turds are frozen, and our woodburning insert keeps the house comfortably warm instead of too hot. Being from the midwest, we have all the bucket and tank heaters we need and Rick installed them last night before the temperature took a nose dive.

That's it for now at . . .

3 comments:

Garrett808 said...

I've noticed that my fleeces are shorter and thinner than normal also. I realize I did shear June 1 last year due to not being able to find a shearer that could commit. I wanted to do them in 5 weeks also, but fear that the fleeces are not anywhere near long enough (even for a 4-5 inch fleece length) They start lambing April 1 so maybe if I do it end of March might be nicer? I can't even think about shearing them when the high right now is -12!!

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

I always shear in April, its just too cold at night here before that. It is usually about 2 weeks after the first ones lamb, so I dont have to worry too much about a break in the wool. This morning when I got in my truck to come to work at 8:00, the temp was 12F so it was at least 5 or 6 low last night...

Kathy said...

Boy...bring 'em here! All my sheep have the thick, long wool fleece - must be all that below zero weather and wind we've been having. They all look like stuffed sausages in their coats!