Sunday, July 8, 2012

Shearing Lambs - Part 2

Shave, mani & pedi - no charge!

I am so sore tonight I can barely type this post.

All day yesterday and today, we sheared lambs.  You'd think we had a flock of hundreds.  But no, we sheared exactly 4 yesterday and 4 today.  If you missed my last lamb shearing post, click here for a recap.

We're not professional shearers.  We don't even shear sheep the way you're supposed to - by parking them on their butts and standing over them to shear.

Papa Bear cleaning up post-shearing with scissors

We tie them out and lay them down on their sides like an alpaca. It takes us about 20-30mn per lamb.  We don't rush.  There is no need to rush, as we already know we are only doing 4 today.

Then we take a short break in between shearing, being just the two of us, we have to do all the different tasks so it takes a bit longer than if we had more people assembled for the task.  (Although we did have help from August, above, for awhile yesterday - and he did great!)

So after the shearing, we weigh the newly shorn lamb.  This involves a bathroom scale and a strong back.  I think I sprained something for this shot.

Next are treats for the lamb - some alfalfa pellets dusted with herbal wormer which he gobbles up while we gather up the fleece - good fleece on one bag, dirty/soiled fleece in another. And Papa Bear changes out the combs/cutters on the shears.  And we both take a few sips of water and some iced coffee.

Ewe look marvelous darling!

And then bring in the next lamb for its day at the spa.

After shearing all four, it is time (past time) for lunch.  So we take a lunch break.  We're not moving any too quick by now, and we're only halfway done with the day's tasks.

After lunch (and more iced coffee) it is time to trim hooves and check for hoof rot, something we've been struggling to get under control ever since we bought these lambs from an Amish farmer last spring.

Thankfully, many of the hooves we've been treating over the summer have healed; unfortunately, several of the hooves that used to be clean now have rot.

Yes sir, yes sir, 13 bags full.

So we park the lamb on its butt and trim all the extra hoof away and as much rotted stuff as the lamb can stand.  Then we dip all 4 hooves in iodine (using an empty salsa jar works great).

By the time we finish trimming hooves and lead the shorn lambs back to the pasture to rejoin their flock, it is dinner time.

As PB works on heating up dinner, I do last rounds for the day - checking on the laying hens, the two alpacas and topping off the lamb's water.

When we sit down to eat, outside on our cement patio in the shade, there is much gratitude - not only for the strength to finish the days' tasks with able bodies, but also for the good food and for the chance to sit down and rest after a hard days' work.

Tomorrow I will ache.  But I will rest easier tonight knowing all of my lambs are shorn and will be cooler for the rest of the summer, helping them to gain well and stay healthier.

And knowing that we are doing our best to be caretakers and shepherds of this tiny flock, entrusted to us even if only for such a short time.

Blessings - 


Jess said...

The bags of wool are just gorgeous, testament to all that hard work. Your helper's name is August? That's my younger son's name! :)

Victoria Strauser said...

Yes he's the grandson of the couple who introduced us to the folks who sold us this farm! I love all that wool - just not sure what to do with it all now.... it's too short to spin, so... felting projects I think!

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