How Sheep Shear Themselves in the Wild?


How Sheep Shear Themselves in the Wild_

In Nature Sheep Molt twice a year to shed their wool naturally. They do not grow in size that has detrimental effects on the health status of sheep. The breed included in this category is “wild Dall sheep.” They do not need any help. They grow just enough wool to protect themselves from the cold in winter and keep them cool. When it is time, they will shed their winter coat all by themselves.

In the wild, some breeds naturally shed their wools and survived themselves. Their breeds are classified as follows;

  • Must shear sheep breeds
  • Natural shearer breeds
  • Breeds missing wool

Types of Sheep

  • Wild – Bighorn – Mountain
  • Meat and Milk Sheep
  • Wool Sheep

Based on the shearing process in sheep, they are categorized based on their wool growth. Sheep used to be reared for meat and milk, but later on, they were bred to enhance the production of wool.

Must Shear Sheep Breeds

Some breeds need to be shorn every year; otherwise, they will grow their wool continuously. The wool may grow in size that is two or three times the original body size of the sheep.

Largest Merino Sheep

The survival of sheep without manual shearing mainly depends upon the type of breed of the sheep. Some breeds are bred to raise the sheep with heavy coats that are normally not shed, and they keep themselves growing. They need to shorn regularly. You will find a sheep three times the size of its original one. The breed included is “Merino.”

These have been selectively bred for thick heavy coats. About 30% of wool used worldwide comes from Australia, where the most commonly raised sheep, Merino. Their coats are so thick that some die of heat exhaustion during hot months. Unlike wild sheep, merinos cannot shed their fleece.

Breeds Missing Wool

While some sheep do not have wool at all; rather, they have hair on their body. And these breeds shed their hair seasonally. There is no concept of sharing in these types of breeds. They constantly replace their hair with new ones with each changing season.

Mulesing

When domesticated sheep cannot shed their fleece themselves, their wool will grow longer while flies lay eggs in their skin’s moist folds. The hatched larvae can eat the sheep alive.

To prevent this from happening, ranchers will perform an operation called mulesing. Without anesthesia, large strips of flesh are cut off the backs of lambs and around their tails.

While considering the natural shearing method of sheep, some terms must be understood.

Practicing Mulesing to help keep cleaner from insect

Shearing

Shearing is the process in which the woolen fleece of sheep is cut off.

Shearer

The person removing the wool of sheep is called a shearer.

Shearing of Sheep

Typically, each adult sheep is shorn once each year. The annual shearing of sheep most often occurs in the shearing shed, a facility specially designed to process often hundreds and sometimes three thousand sheep per day.

Sheep are shorn in all seasons, depending on the climate, management requirements, and wool classer and shearers’ availability. Ewes are normally shorn before lambing in the warmer months, but consideration is typically made about the welfare of lambs by not shearing during cold climate winters.

However, in high region countries, pre lamb shearing encourages ewes to seek shelter among the hillsides, so that newborn lambs are not completely exposed to the elements. Shorn sheep tolerate frosts well, but young sheep especially will suffer in cold and wet windy weather.

In this event, they are shed every year until the weather clears. Some sheep may also be shorn with stud combs commonly known as cover combs, which leave more wool on the animal in colder months, giving greater protection.

Sheep shearing is considered sports all over the world with competitions held around. The competitions are usually held between spring and summer.

Sheep Shearing

Modern shearing

The large flocks of sheep are mustered, inspected, and possibly treated for parasites such as lice before shearing can start. Then they are shorn by professional shearing teams working eight hours a day, by machine shearing.

These contract teams comprise of shearers, shed hands, and a cook. Industry awards regulate Their working hours and wages. A working day starts at 7:30 and the day is divided into four runs of two hours each. “Smoko” breaks are a half-hour each, and a lunch break is taken n at midday for one hour.

Most shearers are paid on piece rate per sheep. Shearers, who “tally” more than 200 sheep per day, are called” gun shearer.” Typical mass shearing of sheep today follows a well-defined workflow

  • Remove the wool
  • Throw the fleece on to the wool table
  • Skirt, roll, and class the fleece
  • Place it in the appropriate wool bin
  • Press and store the wool bin until it is transported.

Wool Removal

A sheep is caught by the shearer, from the catching pen, and taken to his stand on the shearing board. It is shorn using a mechanical handpiece. The wool is removed by following an efficient set of movements. Sheep struggle less using the tally-hi method, reducing strain on the shearer, and there is a saving of about 30 seconds in shearing each one.

The shearer begins by removing belly wool, separated from the main wool by a rouseabout, while the sheep are still being shorn. A professional or gun shearer typically removes a fleece, without significantly marking or cutting the sheep, in two to three minutes, depending on the size and shape of the sheep. It is less than two minutes in competitive sheep shearing.

The shorn sheep is released and removed from the board via a chute in the floor or the wall to an exterior counting out a pen.

A non-mechanical method of sheep shearing

This method is not involving manual power and is also concerned with an injection. Only an injection of protein is being injected that creates a natural break in the wool fibers. After fitting a retaining net to enclose the wool, sheep are injected with protein. When the net is removed after a week, the fleece has separated and is removed by hand. In some breeds, a similar process occurs naturally.

Sheep Shearing Competitions

Fleece skirting

Once the entire fleece has been removed from the sheep, the fleece is thrown, clean side down, on to a wool table by a shed hand. The wool tabletop consists of slats spaced approximately 12cm apart.

This enables short pieces of wool, the locks, and the debris, to gather beneath the table separately from the fleece. The fleece is then skirted by one or more wool rollers to remove the sweat ribs and other less desirable parts of the fleece.

The removed pieces largely consist of shorter seeded, burry or dusty wool, etc. which is still useful in the industry. As such, they are placed in separate containers and sold along with the fleece wool. Other items removed from the fleece on the table, such as feces, skin fragments, twigs, and leaves, are discarded a short distance from the wool table not to contaminate the wool and the fleece.

Following the fleece skirting, it is folded, rolled, and examined for its quality in a process known as wool classing, which is performed by a registered and qualified wool classer. Based on its type, the fleece is placed into the appropriate wool bin ready to be pressed when there is sufficient wool to make a wool bale.

Processing Wool

Roofing / Plucking Wool By Hand

In some primitive sheep, there is a natural break in the growth of wool in spring. By late spring, this causes the fleece to begin to peel away from the body, and it may be then plucked by hand without cutting- this is known as roofing. Individual sheep may reach this stage at slightly different times.

Problems Related to Shearing

Shearing the sheep brings us the wool, but there may be problems concerned with the shearing of sheep. It is a gentle process and must be performed humanely.

After the removal of the sheep’s wool, the sheep’s body coat is reduced, and it must be performed in the summer season so that sheep can survive and live without a coat of wool. Following are the problems that may expectedly arise during the shearing of the sheep

  • Wrong time of shearing
  • Rough handling

Wrong Time of Shearing

Sheep are sheared in the spring, just before they would naturally shed their wool coats. Because shearing too late would mean a loss of wool, most sheep are sheared while it is still too cold. An estimated one million sheep die every year of exposure after premature shearing.

Rough Handling of Sheep

Another problem with sheep shearing is that the shearers are not paid by the hour, but by the volume. They handle the animals very roughly, and a lot of sheep get injured.

The injuries may do more harm than good. Getting wool from the sheep is possible when sheep is alive and healthier. So humane and gentle handling of sheep must be carried to ensure the constant production of wool.

Shearing Devices

Whatever device is used, shearers must be careful to keep it clean to prevent the spread of disease amongst a flock.

Blade shearing has recently made a resurgence in Australia and the UK but mostly for sport rather than commercial shearing. Some competitions have attracted almost thirty competitors, and there have ever been shows created just for blade shearers to compete in.

Blade Shearers / No Electricity

Blade shears consist of two blades arranged similar to scissors except that the hinge is at the end farthest from the point. The cutting edges pass each other as the shearer squeezes them together and shear the wool close to the animal skin.

Blade shears are still used today but in a more limited way. Blade shears leave some wool on a sheep, and this is more suitable for cold climates such as Canterbury high country in the South Island of New Zealand, where approximately half a million sheep are still shorn with blade shears each year.

For those areas where no powered machinery is available, blade shears are the only option. Blade shears are more commonly used to shear stud rams.

Machine Shears

Machine shears, known as handpieces, operate similarly to human hair clippers in that power-driven toothed blade, known as a cutter, is driven back and forth over the surface of a comb and the wool is cut from the animal.

The original machine shears were powered by a fixed hand crank linked to the handpiece by a shaft with only two universal joints, which afforded a very limited range of motion. Later models have more joints to allow easier positioning of the handpiece on the animal. Electric motors on each stand have generally replaced overhead gear for driving the handpieces.

The jointed arm is replaced in many instances with a flexible shaft. Smaller motors allowed the production of shears in which the motor is in the handpiece. Professional shearers do not generally use these as the weight of the motor, and the heat generated by it becomes bothersome with continued use.

Holding Pens

When the wool production of sheep declines, they are sold for slaughter. Millions of lambs and sheep are exported for slaughter each year.

Sheep Farming for Wool Profitability Table

SheepLambs / 3 Per YrSpace Required 20 Sq Feet - EachGrazing Acres .3 / SheepFeed Required / Yr $10015 Lbs Wool / YearAverage Price $ 10 / LB WoolTotal Revenue Possible
1360 sq ft.9 acres$ 30045 lbs$ 450$ 150
26120 sq ft1.80 acres$ 60090 lbs$ 900$ 300
515300 sq ft4.5 acres$ 1,500225 lbs$ 2,250$ 750
1030600 sq ft9 acres$ 3,000450 lbs$ 4,500$ 1,500
20601200 sq ft18 acres$ 6,000900 lbs$ 9,000$ 3,000
30902,700 sq ft27 acres$ 9,0001,350 lbs$ 13,500$ 4,500
401204800 sq ft36 acres$ 12,0001,800 lbs$ 18,000$ 6,000
501503,000 sq ft45 acres$ 15,0002,250 lbs$ 22,500$ 7,500
1003006,000 sq ft90 acres$ 30,0004,500 lbs$ 45,000$ 15,000
20060012,000 sq ft180 acres$ 60,0009,000 lbs$ 90,000$ 30,000
Sheep can give Birth 6+ lambs every Two Years
Sheep can Produce 2 - 30 lbs of wool per year depending on Breed
Raw washed Wool Runs $ 6 - $ 14 using average $ 10
Feed 5 Months Buying Hay $ 100 rest Grazing
Please Check my Numbers

Sheep Farming for Milk Profitability Table

SheepLambs / 3 Per YrSpace Required 20 Sq Feet - EachGrazing Acres .3 / SheepFeed Required / Yr $100Wool $ 15 lb / YearAverage Price $ 10 / LB Wool90 Gallon/ Yr each ewePrice $ 30 per GallonTotal Wool Revenue PossibleTotal Revenue Milk and Wool
1360 sq ft.9 acres$ 30045 lbs$ 4502708100$ 1508,250
26120 sq ft1.80 acres$ 60090 lbs$ 90054016,200$ 30016,500
515300 sq ft4.5 acres$ 1,500225 lbs$ 2,250135040,500$ 75041,250
1030600 sq ft9 acres$ 3,000450 lbs$ 4,500270081,000$ 1,50082,500
20601200 sq ft18 acres$ 6,000900 lbs$ 9,0005400162,000$ 3,000165,000
30902,700 sq ft27 acres$ 9,0001,350 lbs$ 13,5008100243,000$ 4,500247,500
401204800 sq ft36 acres$ 12,0001,800 lbs$ 18,00010,800324,000$ 6,000330,000
501503,000 sq ft45 acres$ 15,0002,250 lbs$ 22,50013,500405,000$ 7,500412,500
1003006,000 sq ft90 acres$ 30,0004,500 lbs$ 45,00027,000810,000$ 15,000825,000
20060012,000 sq ft180 acres$ 60,0009,000 lbs$ 90,00054,0001,620,000$ 30,0001,650,000
Sheep can give Birth 6+ lambs every Two Years
Sheep can Produce 1/2 Gallon Milk per day / 180 Day Lactation
Raw Sheep Milk $9 - $25 per Quart - Used $ 30 per Gallon for Table
Feed 5 Months Buying Hay $ 100 rest Grazing
Please Check my Numbers

18 Breeds of Hair Sheep FAQ Table

Hair Breeds of SheepCountry OriginPurpose of BreedUseEwe Weight
KatahdinsCaribbean / Maine / AfricaTo Graze Power lines / instead of ChemicalsMeat120 - 160 lbs
DorperSouth AfricaThrive in Africa / Hot ClimateMeat / Fast Growing230 LBs
BlackbellyAmericaHot ClimatesMeat150 LBs
St. CroixCarribeanCame on Ships for Meat for sailorsMeat150 lbs
RomanovsRussiaPrimarily for MeatMeat
Wool - Double Coated
110 lbs
Blackhead PersianAfrica / SomailaBred for High Quanity of FatMeat120 lbs
West African DwarfSouth / Central AfricaMeat55 lbs
Red MaasiEast AfricaBred for Hardiness and parasite ResistanceMeat77 Lbs
Wiltshire HornEngland Do not suffer from FlystrikeMeat149 lbs
Royal WhiteUnited States / TexasBred for Tender Meat and Disease ResistantsMeat175 lbs
California RedNot completely Hair sheep/ Combination of both/ Prod 2 lambs YrMeat140 lbs
DamaraEgyptVigorous with fast growing / in extreme conditionsMeat110 lbs
PelibueyCuba / MexicoTropical SheepMeat75 lbs
AfricanaColumbia / VenezulaMeat110 lbs
MoradaBrazilSurvive ScrubMeat66 lbs
Brazillian SomailaSouth Africa / SomaliMeat
UdaAfricaLong Legged SheepMeat88 lbs
TouabireAfrica Dairy / Meat77 lbs
Breeds - Origin - Purpose - Weight

Minature Breeds of Sheep

BreedHeightWeight / Full GrownFood Per DayLifespanWool / Hair SheepCost
Quessant Sheep!8"28 - 30 Lbs1/2 - 1lb 10 - 12 YrsWool$ 350 - 450
Baby Doll Southdown18"75 lbs2 - 3 Lbs10 - 12 YrsWool$ 350 -450
Southdown Sheep18" - 24"130 lbs6 - 6 lbs10 - 12 YrsWool$ 180 - $ 600
Cheviot Sheep 20"130 Lbs6 - 6 lbs10 - 12 YrsWool$ 180 - $ 600
Border Cheviot20"130 lbs6 - 6 lbs10 - 12 YrsWool$ 180 - $ 600
Shetland Sheep24"75 - 100 lbs6 - 6 lbs10 - 12 YrsWool$ 50 - $100
Navajo - Churro20"110 lbs6 - 6 lbs10 - 12 YrsWool$ 200
Breed of Sheep and Physical Charistics
Amount of Food they Need
Lifespan
Wool - They Need to be Sheared Hair Sheep - Do not Grow Woll but shed Hair once a year
Pricing Depend whether you just want Sheep Or you want to Breed

Toxic Plants for Sheep Pastures

Toxic / Poisonous Plant Symptoms / Characteristics
Garden IrisRoots and stems
HollyBerries - Diarrhea - vomiting - stupor
Morning Gloryhallucinogenic seeds
RhubarbLeaves - Convulsions and Death
Wild CherryWilted Leaves have Cynaide - Convolusions, Rolling Eyes, Tongue hanging, animal dies within hours
YewNeedle Like Shrub - vomiting, convulsions, animals Rarely survive this poisoning
OaksAcorns, young trees - anorexia, constipation diahreah thirst gastro problems
Mountain LaurelSame symptoms of Poiaoning. Vomiting, Diahreah, salivation - Usually fall into Coma and then Death
RhododendronSame symptoms of Poiaoning. Vomiting, Diahreah, salivation - Usually fall into Coma and then Death
AzaleaSame symptoms of Poiaoning. Vomiting, Diahreah, salivation - Usually fall into Coma and then Death
List of Poisonous / Toxic Plants
many of these are found around Fence Rows
Fields Should be Checked

Sheep Associations 10 Breeds of Sheep

Breeds of SheepCountry OriginPurpose of BreedUseEwe WeightAssociation For Info
Suffolk SheepBritian / SuffolkFast GrowingMeat250 - 350 LbsUnited Suffolk Sheep Association
Merino SheepSpainSoftest WoolWool100 - 200 LbsAmerican and Delane Merino Sheep Association
HampshireBritainBest Tasting MuttonWool / Meat200 LbsAmerican Hampshire Sheep Association
RomneyEngland / Romney MarshDisease ResistanceWool / Meat225 - 275 LbsAmerican Romney Breeders Association
Lincoln SheepEnglandProduce Longest Fleece In WorldWool250 - 350 LbsNational Lincoln Sheep Breeders Association
Dorper SheepSouth AfricanFast Growing MeatMeat230 LbsAmerican Droper Sheep association
Turcana SheepRomainiaAdapted Alpine PastureWool / Milk / Meat175 - 200 Lbs?
Rambouilette SheepFranceStrong / Hearty / All ClimatesWool / Meat300 LbsAmerican Rambouilette Sheep Breeders Association
Leicester LongwoolUnited KingdomFast growing / Good FleeceWool200 LbsLeicester Longwool Sheep Breeders Association
Breeds - Origin - Purpose - Weight

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