for those who shear their own sheep

In which users discuss matters pertaining to the management of the health, welfare, and productivity of their flocks. Nutrition, pasture management, health care protocols, feeding systems, and such are all on topic.
Saffronsheepranch
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for those who shear their own sheep

Postby Saffronsheepranch » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:20 am

After 12 years or so of sheep raising and a move to MIssouri 4 years ago and sheep that are not shorn every year into July and August here because I can't find a shearer, I have come to terms with the fact that if I want to raise wool sheep here, I am going to have to shear my own sheep. To start, I have decided to stand shear them and am about to purchase shears. There is no reason why we need to knock out the whole flock in one go. We could just shear 10 a day for a while. That would still be faster than August or never. And I could do it whenever I want to.

I have a lot of finnsheep in my flock and felty wool as a result of not getting them sheared in a timely manner. Otherwise it is Dorset and Tunis wool. I am looking at the premier shears 4000s version, getting a 13 tooth comb and the ceramic blade people seem to like so much. These shears just plug into the wall like a hair dryer? When the shearers come, they seem to have extra stuff which they run the shears off? A motor or something? But I was wondering for what I want to do taking off longer, tougher fleeces, what brand of shears do all of you like and use for that?

Once I get going, I may become a wool buyer too and maybe shear tiny flocks too. And maybe learn how to shear correctly. Baby steps. It is not something I ever wanted to do. And clearly I am not alone in that since the world over, there are lots of employed shearers because not everybody wants to shear their sheep. But it is time to do it. So any and all advice is greatly appreciated. Thank-you, Kirsten
Kirsten Wendt
Missouri

Shiner
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Re: for those who shear their own sheep

Postby Shiner » Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:01 pm

Back in 2012, I considered just about everything you mentioned. Then I remembered the condition of my back and switched to hair sheep. It made life so much more enjoyable.
Shiner

twink
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Re: for those who shear their own sheep

Postby twink » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:20 pm

I don't know what part of Missouri you are from but have some some guys in central Kansas who will travel to shear and do a great job. I could get you their contact info if you want.

Hilmar
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Re: for those who shear their own sheep

Postby Hilmar » Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:21 am

I have been shearing my own sheep on a stand for at least ten years. Perhaps you will have a faster learning curve than I have had, but I have great respect for professional shearers. I still take between thirty and forty-five minutes per sheep -- and that does not include the time getting them up onto the stand. It took me years just to get the hang of adjusting the shearing machine blades and tightening them correctly.

The premier product is good. Get several sets of combs and cutters, but I have chosen not to use the ceramic cutter. Especially as a novice, you will dull blades quickly.

If you have the opportunity to attend a shearing workshop, it would be a good investment. Perhaps after you have done a round of shearing you would get more out of the workshop as you would have a better idea of what you do not know.
Mark

Saffronsheepranch
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Re: for those who shear their own sheep

Postby Saffronsheepranch » Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:15 am

:) I have hair sheep also.

Yeah, Twink, PM me the info. Just in case, I decide to start next year instead. LOL. I live 40 miles from KS, off 54.

I know it takes longer in a stand. But I thought I might have a better shot of not hacking them up in a stand.
Plus, if I buy wool too, then I can shear my sheep at the right time/length and get the best price for the grade.

Anyone know how to become a wool buyer?
Don't forget to tell me which shears are your favorite too.

Thanks. Kirsten
Kirsten Wendt
Missouri

poltroon
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Re: for those who shear their own sheep

Postby poltroon » Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:44 am

The comments about having someone else do your flock aren't wrong. :)

We have the Premier 4000 shears and use them as clippers also. It's taken us some time to really get fluent with them, but now we're pretty competent with getting them set up correctly. We are doing a flock of around 10 ewes plus the lambs.

I highly recommend the ceramic cutter.

It takes us probably 40 minutes to shear a (225 lb suffolk/hamp cross) ewe on a stand; when you add in catching the ewe, getting set up, doing whatever else we want with the ewe like feet and wormer, maybe more like an hour and a bit per sheep. We tend to do a few a day rather than one big day, which is probably an artifact of our schedule. After about 3-4 at this pace, the clippers are getting warm. Things go better when the sheep has a finer fleece and a cleaner fleece, and when it's a ewe mellow about the clippers and happy to jump on the stand.

Have a spare set of blades on hand (if for no other reason than you might drop them) and follow the instructions about setting the cutter 1/8" behind the bevel just like it says. Otherwise, the pressure points holding the cutter against the blade will be in the groove and it will bind, making everything hotter, and it also makes it much more likely you'll cut a sheep.

If you're going to be shearing a LOT of sheep, those shears with the separate head and body can go much better much longer. Also, everyone I know who shears for wool production does them Australian-style flipped on the ground, which makes it easier to get the fleece off in one contiguous piece that's easy to skirt.

I was also really happy when we invested in a heavier, larger stand than the first one we tried. You probably already figured this out, but that extra stability just makes everything better, even though I curse it when we're hauling it to a show.

ryanseppanen
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Re: for those who shear their own sheep

Postby ryanseppanen » Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:49 pm

I'm in Northern Wisconsin and it's difficult for me to find a shearer who wants to drive all the way up here to shear 20 ewe lambs so I decided to do it myself. I watched I believe every shearing video on YouTube and decided I'm an expert shearer now so went to have a go at it. I bought some Oster Shearmasters by the way. About 30 seconds into the first lamb I was convinced my shears were shot! They would not cut they were smoking hot and chewing through the wool. I finished her after about a half hour and decided I would try a different comb. So I bought a 13 tooth comb rather than the 17 tooth and tried shearing another lamb. Again I was convinced the shears were faulty from the factory. And on and on it went for about 6 lambs until I finally talked to a shearer and sent him a picture of my shears and how the blade and cutter were set up. I put a new blade (forgot to mention I smoked about 5 blades not even knowing it) grabbed another lamb and wouldn't you know it the faulty shears were literally flowing through the wool and I sheared 4 lambs in under 20 mins. Moral of the story is setting the tension knob on your shears is extremely finicky. When you get the comb and cutter on grab the shears by the tension knob only and turn the knob to tighten it until the tension begins to turn the shears. There is a video of it in YouTube. If the shears start to clatter and aren't wanting to go through the wool tighten the knob ever so slightly. If they start to get warm to point it's uncomfortable to hang on to it's to tight and you will dull the cutter in a matter of about 30 seconds. Good day
Ryan S
Hamp/Rambouillet/Dorset crosses moving towards prolificacy

Saffronsheepranch
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Re: for those who shear their own sheep

Postby Saffronsheepranch » Sun Aug 26, 2018 8:32 pm

Great advice.

I didn't go through with my threat this year though. I finally found a shearer up by Kansas City who shears with all the people I used to know and work with up north in SD. We understand each other shearing day style wise. It was nice to meet someone who knew all my people and area. So now I have a shearer again and next year, I am going to see how much shearing lambs affects weight gain, see if that pencils out.

Someday I may have to take it up but I will push that out as far as I can! LOL
Thanks.
Kirsten Wendt
Missouri

tortoise
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Re: for those who shear their own sheep

Postby tortoise » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:27 pm

I am relieved to see this thread. 2 years ago our old shearer quit and we decided to give it a go, shearing them standing up. Took me 20 minutes or so each. Mostly fighting with the blades. I have tendon injuries and can't handle a proper sheep shearer. I am a former dog groomer and have a powerful clipper that can handle it just fine, but I needed decent blades.

Last year we found a new shearer. It's sure nice to have someone else do the work, but I worry so much about a shearer bringing in disease.

Shiner
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Re: for those who shear their own sheep

Postby Shiner » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:15 pm

The main reason we changed from Rambouillets to hair breeds was the scarcity of shearers in our area. When we started raising wool ewes in '91, I could offer the local college students who were working at the university's sheep center a 12 pack of beer and they would shear our flock of 40 animals. Then, after 20 years, it was $10 per head. Then, I had to haul them to a medium wool rancher's place to consolidate them for the guys from Mexico to shear them and 50% of them got pinkeye from the rancher's flock. I had half a dozen ewes staggering around, blind for a week until the meds took effect after doctoring them 3x per day. Hair breeds are SO much easier.

shiner-prosit


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