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Sheep Shearing in the UK

Following on from my previous post – the video of shearing a shetland sheep in USA – I thought I’d add a couple of my old photos of sheep shearing, taken about 30 years ago!  I can’t remember where I took them – somewhere in South Wales.

These are scans of the A6 sepia postcards I published of the original photos – which is why they aren’t very sharp.  The sheep were being sheared in a field, and they were penned to make it easier to do the shearing as quickly as possible.

I did a search for shearing in the UK, to get a bit more info on when shearing is done here, and found this useful piece, oddly enough, published under the name of Sheep Shearing in the UK by Indie Farmer.

These are a couple of colour photos from that site.

And this is the first part of the blog – written in July 2014

The sheep shearing season in the UK (roughly mid May to mid July) is pretty much finished now, so farmers will be pleased that one difficult and time consuming job is over for another year, and the sheep will be happy to have got rid of their thick fleeces in this hot weather.

Shearing requires both skill and a lot of hard, physical work in hot summer conditions.  Some farmers shear their own sheep but many, especially those with large flocks (anything over a few hundred sheep) hire specialist shearing gangs to do the work for them.  Shearing gangs typically have three to eight members, and travel the country going from farm to farm, shearing every day during the season.  It is a hard life but pay can be good, about £2 a sheep and a good shearer can shear 200 sheep per day.  When the UK shearing season is over, the shearing gangs often travel to other countries where the shearing season is at a different time of year, in what is known as ‘the shearing circuit’, travelling from the UK to Norway, the USA, the Falklands, New Zealand, Australia, and pretty much anywhere that you can find plenty of sheep!  It is a very tough, hard working and hard drinking lifestyle, but it’s a good way to see the world, have fun and make some money.

Wool used to be where the main profit was in sheep farming, with meat as a useful sideline.  Many of the great Cathedrals and castles of the middle ages were built using the profits from the wool trade.  The Lord Speaker in the House of Lords still sits on a ceremonial Woolsack to represent the importance of wool to the economy in former times.  Now, however, sheep farmers make their main profit from meat, with wool being a very minor sideline.

It’s always useful to know a bit more about where your wool comes from!  Especially for spinners who are carding and spinning the raw fleeces!

PS. PLUG!

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I sell hand carders that can deal with raw fleeces and all types of wool fibres – and also are quite useful as brushes for sheep and other animals if you are tidying up your stock for Agricultural Shows.  The current listings can be found if you click on the links below.

Listed on julzcraftstore.com here

USE THE COUPON CODE  customer10%off  at the checkout to get 10% off your order.

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A few pics of my new chicks ….

I just love this photo – my dog has watched over the new chicks since they hatched – despite his reservations with the grown up chickens – he has become very protective of their offspring.  This chick regularly sits on the top edge of their cardboard box, and he worries that it will jump out, so here he is nudging it back into the box!

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This chick is 3 weeks old and is probably a pure breed Buff Sussex

2 day old mixed chicks

These are some of the chicks at two days old, there are a couple of silkies in the batch, but most of them are the eggs from my own chickens – the Buff Sussex and Speckled Sussex shown below.

As they are free range, the chicks could be pure breeds or crosses of the two breeds – I will have to wait until they are fully grown to be sure, and am looking forward to seeing what the crosses look like – hopefully they will have interesting markings!

These are some of the other chicks at 3 weeks old.

 

I have been selling the fertile eggs on ebay, and I have had feedback that they are fertile, even once they have been thro’ the postal system – so I thought – I might as well advertise them here too!  Please note I can only post them within the UK.

TO BUY SOME OF THESE EGGS – PLEASE GO TO THE LISTING ON THIS SITE

BY CLICKING THIS LINK.