So when I joined FFA I knew absolutely nothing (ok I take that back, I knew what they looked like and what sound they made and how to spell it, but otherwise nothing) about sheep. My first year was a HUGE learning curve!!!
In fact I slick sheared (shaved) my sheep with dog clippers for the first fair I went to. I didn’t know any better and my Ag teacher at the time was at my house and that’s what she told me to do. It works, but OH MY GOSH does it take forever!
So then I upgraded to a pair of these.
They worked great but still weren’t exactly what I needed. They again still had their limitations.
Finally I got a pair of these.
Now these are good for Breeding stock (so you can block), but for Market Lambs it still didn’t get the wool short enough. For Market Lambs, you have to slick shear and the closer to the skin you can get, sometimes the better odds you have, not only because while at home it keeps them cooler so they eat more and exercise more without getting sick, but Breeding sheep they keep the wool on to hide flaws, Market Lambs, you have to have it short!
When there is wool on a sheep for showing purposes you can make a short bodied one look long, a skinny one look fat, a fat one look skinny, a rounded dock (their butt) look square (like it goes out straight and then drops off their back), etc etc etc. Someday I’ll pull out pictures and maybe go into a little more detail. I will also tell you that Oklahoma 4-H and FFA kids, whether showing Market Lambs or Breeding Sheep have to slick sheer all their sheep. No exceptions.
Anyway I’m getting off my topic. Finally a couple years into it (when my parents knew I was in for the long haul) they bought me a pair of Lister’s. Lister’s are what everyone uses for slick shearing their market lambs. These things are a lot like dog clippers but bigger, faster and more powerful. Yes I have clipped our dogs with them before… They are a lot more safe then the pair above… I’ve even laid them on my arm before to see if I could clip my arm hair… just making sure I didn’t hurt the sheep I guess. 🙂
About a month ago I sold off most of my sheep. I kept 5. The bottle lamb from this year, a ewe that is really special to me, the ram, and 2 other ewes.
So Saturday we decided it wouldn’t be feasible to pay the shearer to come out and shear off 3 of them, so hubby and I decided we’d do it. I gave him the Lister’s and a few pointers and he went to town on the ram. Unfortunately we still have to do 2 of the ewes because where I brought the ram up out of the pasture, those darn ewes wouldn’t come, even with me bribing them with feed :(.
And this one here (Mudflap) wasn’t helping me, along with Audrey.
I don’t have shears like the shearer does. His motor hangs up high and you don’t have to worry about getting tangled up in cords or anything. Nope, I have the Oster’s and the Lister’s. So we place the sheep up on the sheep stand. It’s a great way when showing to keep them up higher so you don’t break your back while fitting them up. Fitting can sometimes take 4-6 hours per sheep. Yes I have spent 6 hours on 1 sheep before.
My grandpa’s built my sheep stand for me. I swear it’s sturdy enough you could put an elephant on it… So anyway you place the sheep on the stand, put his head in the head stand (just to help hold him) and you set in on shearing him.
Since we aren’t shearing him for show, it doesn’t really matter how good of a job you do. Just make sure you get the wool off, that’s the main goal. It also helps when slick shearing them to douse them with water first. The clippers go through the wool a lot easier. However you can’t sell wet wool… but heck… we wouldn’t have enough to sell anyway. Not this year anyway.
And I’ll tell you, hubby was doing GREAT!!
I really think this ram has been shown before for as calm as he is. The ones who are hardly touched are WILD!
Now the cool thing about this stand is it actually has a boat crank on it, so you walk the sheep on, place his head in the rack and then you go to cranking him up to the height you want him. Then when you are finished you can either A) jump him down or B) lower him back down. My other sheep stand my grandpa’s made me you have to jump them up and jump them back down. That’s tough work if you have an uncooperative sheep!
I guess Audrey had had a busy day between the sheep gathering and the sheep shearing and the horseback riding because she laid down in the floor of the car and eventually went to sleep.
Usually she isn’t this calm
And very rarely does she ever do this.
So there you have it. 1 sheep down, 2 to go….
And on a side note, Tuesday night I shaved my puppy dog. Doesn’t she look cute? btw I think she’s part energizer rabbit b/c she wouldn’t stand still long enough to hardly get a photo of her.
Linked up at Farm Chick’s Farm Friday