Shorn Again

Yesterday was sheep shearing day again on the farm. “Mrs. Lisa, the Sheep Shearing Lady” (as the kids call her) was up here from Indiana for the weekend; she drives a huge circuit across the region, hitting a nearby flock on Saturday and then us on Sunday. (As posted elsewhere, we don’t typically like to do work on Sundays, but in this case we didn’t have much of a choice — you need to get the sheep shorn when the shearing lady is available.)

We got 25 beautiful fleeces from our flock, ranging from the very small (a couple of our undersized triplet lambs) to the very large. In all, we have 14 lambs and 11 mature adults. Apart from the fleeces, shearing day gives us an excellent close-up look at each individual member of the flock. We won’t be keeping any lambs as breeders this year (our flock is plenty large), but under normal circumstances this is a good chance to identify the best-conforming animals.

It’s also a time to identify definite culls. One male had a beautiful set of horns, had reached a reasonable size, and had a nice fleece; until shearing day, I’d been thinking of possibly keeping him for breeding next year. But with his fleece off, we immediately spotted a big problem: he has a significant hernia on his belly. He will be among the very first to go to the butcher.

Today, the whole flock was out again in the pasture, enjoying the fall sunshine and 60 degree temps with their coats off. Here they are, enjoying some windfall pears that I’d tossed over the fence for them. (This picture also gives a good look at how expansive the new pasture is.)

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