Friday, March 29, 2013

Roo, roo, roo your sheep...

...not so gently it would seem. :-/

Yesterday Brian had an outing with a friend so I ambitiously thought I could roo a couple sheep and take my horse for a lovely ride over the hillside. Five hours later I had ONE sheep de-fleeced. Period.

I didn't notice a rise in Sarai's fleece last year, but this year she started to get loose around the edges and I was able to roo her mid-side sample for micron testing. Hoping that she would be easier to do than Cadbury (rooing his neck took me quite awhile), yesterday I started with her. Her neck wool was pretty tight, so I decided to pull her coat up (I thought covering her head would keep her calmer, and contain the VM in her neck wool) and start with the clean fleece.
Mid-side, last rib; such gorgeous fleece!
The wool on her shoulders was pretty tight. Rooed wool comes off much fluffier than sheared wool; a little area yields a big 'cloud' (which made me want to start spinning immediately)!

When I got to her topline, there was a visible rise, and the wool released more easily there, giving both of us a bit of a break.

I plowed a 'furrow,'

and proceeded from there.

By the time I finished her body, neither of us were up to me trying to roo her neck, so I just scissor-sheared it – which allows me to show you the difference in appearance between a rooed sheep (on the left) and a sheared sheep (on the right):

It may have been a rather miserable marathon of a job, but what a lovely result!
Of course, WhitePine Sarai is a lovely ewe, an outstanding example of what a Shetland should be and representative of what Garrett produces. Now if only she will produce some ewe lambs for me!

One rooed, more to go at . . .

12 comments:

thecrazysheeplady said...

Pretty, pretty!

Kelly said...

She is quite lovely. Nice job on the rooing. I've noticed that the back of the neck can be quite stubborn to roo on some sheep, so I just use the hand shears so I don't hurt the sheep. (same as you did)

Susan said...

I can't imagine rooing mine. Someone would be seriously injured :-/ What a beautiful sheep she is!

Tombstone Livestock said...

You did good on the rooing and also on the scissor clipping. I think I am going to be picking wool off the fences and the fig tree before the shearer gets here.

Do you micron test every year or just once per sheep?

Michelle said...

I do it several times per sheep, as they change over time and some of my fleece customers want that information. And my breeding animals of a certain age (I think it's four and under) are tested annually to be eligible for the Fine Fleece Shetland Sheep Association "studbook." That would be Cadbury, Blake, Sarai, Marta, and Bonny, so those are the ones who will be tested this year, along with Bittersweet because I'd like to know what that cross (Cadbury/Annabelle) produces.

Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

Good Morning Michelle!
You are amazing - and speaking a different language!! I think I was able to "fill in the blanks" after looking at the pictures and rereading what you wrote! No wonder lovely wool sweaters cost so much! Sarai is beautiful after you finished up with her. bet she feels better too!
the funny thing is- I just did the same thing to my dog. Augie has hair/fur like a poodle and I had let him grow out since this time last year. So I spent all day Sunday scissor cutting him and finally using the shears to cut him down. I have two blisters on my fingers from the scissors. BIG blisters and they hurt all week.
So how much wool do you get from one sheep? About how many balls of yarn?

Theresa said...

She is lovely Michelle!

Michelle said...

Suzan, Sarai's skirted body fleece (what was under the coat) weighs 2 lbs 10 oz, probably my smallest fleece because she has the shortest staple. It will be somewhat less once washed, but what remains will be enough for a surprising amount of knitting because of the unique qualities of fine Shetland wool. Theresa (of the comment below) knit a Fair Isle cardigan of her own design from her fine-fleeced Shetland wool, and it weighs less than a pound! Can you imagine how light a non-stranded sweater would weigh? Lightweight yet WARM – the reason a 7 oz Shetland wool was chosen for a Mt. Everest expedition.

Leigh said...

I love the result! Thanks for sharing the difference. That fleece looks positively gorgeous.

Laura said...

She is a lovely ewe! Fleece is very nice too!!

shelly hancock said...

Ohhh, spinning from the lock is nice! I would've been soooo tempted to stop part way through and spin just a little bit. :-)

erica said...

You did an awesome job! And she is a very pretty ewe~