Mike Fournier instructs sheep shearing.
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.
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.
The number of wool cooperatives has decreased over the past decade, but there are still a number still functioning here in PA. Most wool pools operate in June of each year. For more information on PA Wool Pools, contact Melanie Barkley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 814-623-4800.
Prepared by Michael Fournier, former Penn State Extension Educator