Friday, 3 June 2011

Sheep shearing and catch up!

So all the family has been returned and life has returned to something like normality. We had a cracking bank holiday with Jacobs first birthday party with 50 guests and there kids. The idea was to enjoy the garden, spread out and enjoy the dry weather, if anything was going to make it rain it would have been that! At long last the heavens opened and we had approximately 15ml of rain, the first measurable fall since February and has reduced my panic over winter feed just ever so slightly.

So work wise I have been off on a course to learn how to shear sheep. We met at a farm out in the fens, easy to find as it was the only one with sheep! With a group of 12 of us milling around we all signed our health and safety forms and awaited our instructions. Our teachers for the day were Ed and Andy both very experienced shearers (but typically understated) and they split us into groups of 2 by skill level. I was horrified that only myself and a very small lady indentified ourselves as beginners and all the others got out there own kit!! bloody hell this was going to be a long day! We all lined up against Ed's shearing kit and Andy pulled out a shearling Lleyn and performed what can only be described as a choreographed dance with a sheep and clippers as the wool seemed to fall of in a graceful arc. He then did a second shearling showing us each seperate stage of the process and I thought to my self that i could do that. It soon became very clear that i couldn't. It was so difficult, it turns out that sheep are very attached to there wool and not over keen to have a rank amature nicking there skin while trying to hack the wool of there back. 20 minutes later and utterly drenched with sweat a shabby looking sheep limped off back to the field and the farmer turned to me saying "don't worry there's only 2 weeks difference between a bad haircut and a good one!" well at least he had a sense of humour and he needed it looking at the sheep leaving his shed! If i was having troubles it was nothing compared to my shearing partner, when we moved on to the mule ewes they were about the same size as her and God love her she got them sheared but they took a bloody long time!!

The course lasted two days and by the end of it I pretty much knew what i was doing and felt ready to shear my own sheep.

Fortunately most of my flock are Wiltshire Horns and shed there wool

but i have 10 suffolks crosses and 2 jacobs that need shearing, i got the shears, no excuse!

So heres one of my suffolks all done

Its got to be said that i now have so much respect for professional shearers who make a living out of shearing doing 35 - 40 sheep an hour. I did eleven in one afternoon and I was f*%ked!!


  1. Wonderful photos, beautifully written, the sheep look great. xxxx

  2. Hi Will

    I'm doing a piece for Farmers Weekly magazine about farming bloggers. I can't see a way of contacting you on the blog - can you drop me a line on Would be good to find out a bit more about you and include a mention.


  3. Hiya, I was just wondering where you did your course and if you had another contact info for the instructors? I would love learn as work in rescue and we have about 50 sheep on the site where I work, plenty of practice for me!