We are fortunate to have friends of the sanctuary on call for some of the more strenuous activities around the ranch. For example, the annual sheep shearing and hoof trims of the sheep and goats. We try to do this in early May before it gets too hot. That coat of winter wool gets so hot in the Spring – we can’t imagine how uncomfortable, even dangerous, it would be in the summer.
Our young friend Wesley and his mom pitched in to help this year and we were very grateful as it is hard work. First, you have to catch the sheep. Second, you have to run them up on the ramp and stand. Third, you’ve got to secure them so they don’t jump off. This third step is crucial because keeping the sheet calm is what’s needed when the shears come out because they are very sharp and it’s easy to cut the animals by mistake.
Wesley was a great “Sheep Whisperer” this year. He would call out their names and provide soothing talk to them as I went to work on them. What a big help! The shears allow you to affix sharp combs and cutters. You have to stop during the shearing to clear away any debris and to oil up the works so you can continue.
Now understand we are not the professionals you envision in which a person flips the sheep on their backs and holds them steady with their legs, etc. No, that’s not us. We run them up a ramp so we don’t have to bend over so much!
We also don’t do a perfect job of shearing either. We are only interested in getting the bulk of the wool off of them so they don’t overheat. Sometimes some wool around the neck area remains, but that’s only because it’s hard to shear the wool in that area without cutting them…
Shearing day is also perfect for giving them de-wormer orally and also trimming hooves. We do all three things at the same time and it works out just fine.
Here in this photo you can see Wesley presiding over one of our ewes. Thanks Wes for being our Sheep Whisperer!