Posted by: 347bennetrd | July 17, 2010

Shearing – Day 4

Well I had the best of  intentions to write a post for each day, but don’t you know, I had two social engagements at the end of day 2 and day 3!  Admittedly some of the same people were involved in both nights, but still – I’m getting out and about in the Millers Flat community!

So anyhoo, today, Saturday, the last of the twotooths were shorn and the job finished up.  Gosh its an intensive, busy time – early starts, late finishes and lots to do during the day to keep the sheep running up to the shed and then process them as they come out freshly shorn.

Some people are surprised at the idea of shearing in winter, but actually the weather is usually more stable at this time of year – we’ve had calm sunny days for about the last 3 weeks, its been great!  Different farmers shear their sheep at different times of the year, but we shear at this time for a number of reasons.

1. heavy wool can increase the likelihood of sheep becoming cast (where they fall over, can’t get up again and die) as they get bigger with pregnancy.  We don’t do a lambing beat (where you regularly drive round, helping sheep give birth) and so its easy to miss a cast ewe.

2.  there are more reasons, but I’ve already asked Dad before, a few times actually, and then forgotten, so I’m going to have to wait a bit before I ask again.

3.  I just read on the internet that pregnant ewes who are freshly shorn undergo hormonal changes to burn stored fat to keep warm and this energy spurt can lead to increased lamb birth weights.  But this only became known after Dad and his brother made the decision to shear in winter so I can’t pretend that’s one of his reasons.

So busy, tiring days just finished.  Here are a mob of sheep ‘standing off’ (where you put the sheep in a small area with no food so they can poo everything out and not dirty the yards or make the catching pens slippery for shearers).

Here is me about to throw my toys out of the cot cos I was meant to put up a small break fence to hold another mob in a corner while they stood off, but they broke through before I had hooked up electricity and it was an old reel and there was no stopper to prevent them from running the wires out into the paddock which they did.

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