A couple weeks ago we had our sheep sheared for the first time. They are just turning one year old and I was looking forward to ridding them of their thick winter sweaters.
We herded them into the shop with some hesitation on their part as they knew something was about to go down. The shearer arrived, set up and it was time to begin!
Gussy was first. Our sweet little boy with the gimp hind leg. Gussy was given to us for free because of his birth defect but he gets on fine running our farm and swinging his deformed leg in the wind.
As the wool came off, we slowly lost all recognition of our little “Gussy Pants”. He looked COMPLETLY different without his wool! I had expected a visible difference but this was such an extreme transformation! His BAA-ing quickly grabbed the attention of the others waiting and watching nearby and they replied by BAA-ing back in what seemed to be an attempt to calm Gussy down or plan an escape.
It didn’t take long at all and Gussy was back in the pen with the others. Once in the pen, he received the dirtiest looks, crooked head tilts, butt sniffing and confused verbal gurgles.
THEY DIDN’T RECOGNISE HIM!
It was odd to watch this unfold. Here was poor Gussy, naked and vulnerable to the rest of the sheep, confused himself as to what the hell just happened but now feeling so different amongst his peers. He BAA-ed and BAA-ed and they just stared at him wondering what and who he was.
On we went, one sheep after the next. As we went we collected the wool which all sold the same day as the sheep were sheared. My grand plan was to have the wool processed and spun to eventually have a sweater made out of it however the price to have wool cleaned, roved and spun was way too expensive so I sold it to people who were planning to use it for felting.
My whole reason for hiring out the shearing this year was to get an idea of the process so that I could eventually shear my own sheep in the future. After watching the process unfold, I was very happy I didn’t jump on an expensive pair of shears and try it myself. Not that I don’t believe I can do it but because it is a lot of work and you are guaranteed to nick the sheep and make them bleed. That was my fear that I realized was inevitable. I also realized that selling the wool more then pays for the shearing and I don’t have to do EVERYTHING if I don’t need to. Sometimes its nice to have a pro take care of some things and just keep doing what I’m good at.
After all the sheep were sheared, we let them out to graze a new pasture. We watched as we couldn’t tell them apart anymore. Their wool gave them such charm and personality that now it seemed as if we lost our sheep and replaced them with these small, naked caribou. We could distinguish Lemon as she was a different breed of sheep and now looked like a large dog and we noticed Gaga as she got cut on the ear during her squirming and had blood stained wool. But the rest was a crab shoot. However, after a couple weeks we can now identify them from afar because their personalities are shining through.
Gord has different eyes, a very large belly and is always at Lemon’s side, Gussy is one of two black sheep and has the limp, GG is the other black sheep and Gracy is the smallest and the only one who runs up to you for pets. She is sweet as pie and will push her tiny self through the crown to be the first and last to get rubs.
Now when we rub the sheep, it feels like rubbing a carpet. their wool is tight and so short you can almost see their pink skin underneath. I look forward to watching their wool grow back and their sweet little bodies grow round and fluffy with softness.