– Mehmet Murat ildan
On October 18 we did the shearing for our seventy one sheep.
Two days before a neighbour came over with his gentle and loving dog Sally. Sally gets so excited about bringing in sheep, but never barks and never goes near a sheep.
Malcolm and Sally brought in the main flock…not that easy as many of them love dogs and just wanted to say ‘Hi’ to Sally, not follow the other sheep!
Once the main flock were in the yards Malcolm volunteered to hit the forest to bring on the four ‘bushrangers’ who refuse to stay with the main flock and roam the creek line. This was a very challenging task as it involved rough terrain, crossing the creek, a complex fencing arrangement, and taking into account that the kangaroos are also in the forest.
Despite the challenges the Malcolm and Sally team, aided by us, brought in the fugitives to join the others in high security yards, and to settle down with hay. Sally rewarded herself by having a dunk in the horse trough!
The older sheep and special needs sheep, such as Blossom the blind merino ewe, were put into their shelter, to be brought up for shearing separately.
We are lucky to have the services of an excellent, patient and caring shearer, Matthew. Matthew brought a second shearer along so we could shear all sheep in a day. In addition two WWOOF guests, friend Sari, and my daughter provided support.
We use portable panels to create feeder yards to the shearing area, which is the veranda of our stables. It is flat, has access to power and shaded. Even though it was an ideal day, just 21C, it still gets so hot doing such hard physical work, and so we not only attend to the comfort of our sheep, we try to look after our shearing team with shade, a safe surface, cool drinks, lunch and a ‘real’ coffee from the local hotel.
At 8.30 am set up is complete and the shearing begins, with our newest arrival Cindy and Magpie starting the day.
Many of our sheep are very large. Our sheep get to live out their natural life, are on good pasture and roam freely. They are strong. Some are cooperative, others not so. But our shearers managed all well although at times we needed to call in reinforcements!
As each sheep is shorn Matthew identifies their breed type, which I record on the fleece bag, together with the name of the sheep. Each fleece is bagged individually.
Once shorn, the sheep is released back to a separate yard and after a short period released back into the olive grove, where they happily return to grazing on fresh grass. For the next two days especially they will rest and catch up on sleep.
The helpers quickly remove the fleece to be skirted and bagged, and sweep the shearing area, as the next sheep is brought in.
We have a mix of breeds and colours. Below is ‘Joseph’ with the wonderful multi colour fleece. He is a merino cross.
It was also the first shearing for Wilma the border Leicester ewe. Her fleece is huge with a staple length of 20 cm!
Once the main flock was shorn, we brought up the older sheep. I led blind Blossom up and she quietly submitted to being shorn, dear girl.
At last by around 4pm, all sheep were free of their fleeces and our shearers packed up to shear another twelve!
And we have sixty nine bags of fleece to move!
To purchase our fleeces, either raw, as batts, or as spun yarn, please contact us.