Time to Think About Shearing Your Sheep
Posted: March 10, 2011
Mike Fournier instructs an 8-hour course in sheep shearing each spring. Save the date for this year's course - May 3 and 4!
Wool is Mother Nature’s original renewable resource. Man has been clothing himself in wool for centuries, and if you treat your ewes right they will give you a fine crop of wool every year. In the old days, all shepherds had the ability to harvest their own wool. However, with most flocks in our area being quite small, and shearing being a very technical skill requiring years to perfect, most shepherds hire a professional shearer.
When to Shear: There are precious few competent sheep shearers around these days, and not many do it as a full time job. Therefore, it behooves you to contact your shearer early to get on his schedule. Springtime rains play havoc with shearing as we can’t shear wet sheep, so appointments often get pushed back. Try to get shearing done early in the season.
Storing wool: Once your wool is harvested, store it in plastic trash bags, one fleece per bag with the top open. It is also a good idea to punch holes in the bag so the fleece can “breath”. Store the wool in a cool, dry place.
Selling wool: If you’re looking to sell your wool, the Bucks Montgomery Wool Pool will be held the first Saturday in June. Last year we shipped over 25,000 pounds of wool from 85 farms scattered over 15 PA & NJ counties.
Learn to Shear! If you are really ambitious and want to learn the fine art of shearing, we offer a two night (8 total hours) Sheep Shearing School in early May. Registration is opening soon on our courses page.
For more information on both of these events, check out our Start Farming courses page, or call the Bucks County Extension office at 215-345-3283.