There are some things that should just be left up to the experts.
I believe sheep sheering falls into this category.
I realize that it’s just a haircut. I realize that anyone can do it. I realize that anyone can get good at it.
I sheared a sheep.
- I never want to do that again
- That poor sheep
- Poor me
I don’t know who I feel sorrier for, the sheep I sheared or the sheep still covered in wool.
Unfortunately, she was the guinea pig and I was the student.
The girl I sheared now has at least 5 gashes in her flesh that did not exist yesterday morning.
It didn’t help that the shearers I used came from our local extension office and probably have never been sharpened.
Do any of you know how to sharpen sheep shearers? [Google to the rescue]
Here’s how it happened:
I planned to shear all 3 of our sheep. As I mentioned, I borrowed the sheep shears from our local extension office. These things were massive. Imagine a set of dog hair clippers and then imagine they were made to eat through concrete.
Shearing 3 sheep seemed like a do-able task to me.
- How hard could it be?
- It’s just 3 sheep.
- I want to know how to do this.
- When our flock gets bigger I’ll pay someone to do it – since we just have 3 sheep now, I can handle it.
3 Sheep is a lot when it takes over an hour to shear one. Yes, it took me an hour. I didn’t want to cut her or hurt her so I decided I’d remove the wool in layers [This was my first mistake].
I wasn’t trying to remove it in one piece, sell it, or make a sweater. I just wanted to get the wool off the sheep so they don’t die of heat stroke.
I mowed down the first 12 inches or so. Once I got to the point where I could actually feel an animal I went over her a second time closer to her skin.
Oh, the pain. My back. My neck. My arms. I may never be the same. An hour hunched over a half-bald sheep is too much for this old gal.
I called my good friend who gave us the sheep and told her I was a terrible sheep mommy. I told her that I hacked my sweet, cooperative ewe in 5 different places. I told her that I needed help and instruction and counseling.
She asked, “Did you cut off any important appendages?”
I said No.
Next, she said, “Then you did a fine job.”
She told me about a shearing nightmare she had at her farm. Several years ago, she had someone come to her farm to shear her sheep. The shearer told her that he was experienced.
That day he sheared off 2 teats from 2 different sheep while he was shearing her flock.
So, I suppose, I could have done worse.
She also told me that I didn’t need to put any iodine or antibiotic ointment on the cuts. She said that the sheep have lanolin in their wool that will lubricate the cuts and heal them. She said that sheepskin heals very quickly because of this.
Now, I have a sheep who looks like someone sheared her with a lawnmower.
I looked at my other 2 sheep and told them that I was going to get them some professional help.
I called the local Sheep Shearer and made the appointment for next week.
He’s going to fix the poor sheep I mutilated and shear the other two.
FOR $8 each.
To do what took me an hour.
Take my $24 dollars and make my sheep bald. And tell me I never have to do this again.
I also made an appointment with a massage therapist to fix my back, neck and right arm.
I have decided that paying someone else to shear my sheep may cost me $24… HOWEVER,
If I do it myself it’s gonna cost me over $100 in chiropractors and massage therapists.
And, I don’t want to do it.