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Sheep Shearing


A couple weekends ago my dad’s sheep were sheared.  I always loved shearing day as a kid so I’m really happy we were able to take the boys out there to watch how it’s done.


Could there be a better place to sit and watch the action take place then on top of all that hay? L to R : nephew Charley, niece Nora Jean, Aiden and Brennan


These are the tools Justin, the shearer, uses.  His clippers are electric and they run super fast compared to the kind of shears a barber uses to cut hair.  He takes very good care of his clippers, oiling them up more than once during a session (depends on how many sheep he is shearing).  He also wears special shoes.  They are made of leather, I think, and they prevent him from slipping on the plywood he shears the sheep on top of.  One thing I learned this year is that sheep’s wool has lanolin in it (you know, the same kind of lanolin in lotions and chapsticks!).  How cool is that?  All of that lanolin makes that plywood slippery so he wears those shoes instead of rubber soled boots. 


This guy enjoyed the action!


To begin with, Justin pulls a sheep out of the pen and lays it over onto it’s lower back/rump area. Then he tucks one of her front legs between his legs and sort of lays her head over his thigh.  He starts shearing her tummy and around her milk sack, then rearranges her a little bit and starts on her legs, then moves to her side, back and other side.  He finishes by giving her a haircut (well, shears any wool on top of her head).   It’s a really fast process, only takes 3-4 minutes per ewe.  If he was in a competition he could have it done in under 2 minutes!  (A lot of local fairs and the State Fair have shearing competitions, they are super fun and entertaining to watch!)


Once the ewe is sheared they gather up the wool and stuff it in a big, long burlap sack that they mount on the wall to make stuffing it easier. That’s my dad on the ladder stuffing the wool in.  And that’s Justin in the foreground pulling out another sheep and rolling her over to get started shearing.





They aren’t as cute and cuddly after, are they?

So, why do they get sheared? Well, first of all, the wool is worth some money.  How much, I have no idea.  Secondly, it’s almost lambing time.  If they have all of that fluff on them when they have a tiny newborn lambie in their pen with them they won’t feel that lamb and will lay down on them and suffocate them.  Plus, this is cleaner for the birthing process (you know, after birth and all that goo).

I hope you enjoyed your trip to the farm!



  1. So fun!!!
    This all reminds me so much of my weeks spent on my friend's farm growing up, right down to playing in the hay loft!
    I was always so fascinated when my friend's dad sheered the sheep. But, I have to say, I like how they look after better than before. :)