Shearing

Llanwenog Sheep Get A Haircut

Oh what an interesting and educational day we’ve had today. A day truly full of firsts for us – for today was shearing day for the sheep at The Edible Garden Company!

Tansy one of our Llanwenog sheep before shearing

So, after a whole week of the Met-Office telling us there would be no rain today, last night they changed the forecast to a yellow weather warning for heavy rain after midday. Even shearing virgins like ourselves know that sheep can not be sheared in the field if it’s raining. So, at 7 am this morning we were rushing around, emptying the barn of accumulated junk and turning it into a pen to do the sheep shearing in. We also decided (because we’re big softies) that given that the forecast is for heavy rain for the rest of the week, we’d set the barn up so the sheep could stay undercover till the weekend. By the time we’d finished, I was thinking it’d be a nice place to spend a few days myself – a liberal layer of straw, yummy hay, fresh clean water and a cracking view, Llanwenog heaven.

We moved our sheep up from their field and into the barn ready for shearing – well when I say “we” moved the sheep, I mean Timmy and George from Tawelfan Sheepdogs came over with two of their stunning dogs and moved them for us. It was amazing to watch the two sheepdogs working together and when one of the ewes and her lamb made a break for it back down the hill and back to their field, one of the dogs was off like a shot to bring them back.

Three Llanwenog ewes with their lambs
A Llanwenog ewe getting a hoof trim

It was not a moment too soon that we got the sheep in the barn, as ten minutes later the heavens opened.

Chris, our shearer turned up pretty soon after and within minutes he was set up and giving the first of our sheep (Tansy) a pedicure, before moving on to the shearing.

Within no time at all, he’d turned three huge cuddly, woolly things into three small, ugly, shivery things. Chris was a font of knowledge, telling us all sorts of things about wool, hooves, feed and loads more. I would definitely recommend him for anyone who is looking for a good shearer who is happy to do large commercial flocks or small flocks like ours. If you would like Chris’ contact details please get in touch.

So after Chris left and after some lunch, it was our turn to work with the sheep. More firsts for us. Ear-tagging the lambs was way easier than we thought it would be and the lambs hardly even reacted to it. We gave the lambs their Heptavac jabs and the ovine equivalent of Spot-On.

A newly shorn Llanwenog sheep looking none-too-happy

We’re happy to say that everything went perfectly well and they seem to be settling down for the night.

So what did we learn today?

  • Llanwenog sheep have lovely fleeces
  • How to ear-tag sheep
  • A lot more about hoof care than we did before
  • Lambs are way harder to catch than adult ewes but easier to handle
  • Sheep, at least Llanwenog sheep, actually seem to enjoy being sheared
  • Don’t put straw on the floor of the shearing pen before the sheep are sheared because it sticks to the fleece like poo