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Traditional Sheep Shearing at Thistledown Croft
Virtual Museum of Shearing
Shearing live here in Western NY
Sheep Shearing 1813, England
Handshears must stay very sharp
Double Bow and Single Bow Traditional Hand Shears
Shearing in Ireland 19th Century
Scottish Sheep Shearing & Hand Shearing In France
Shearing in Australia
by Tom Roberts
Most shearers today use this type of clipper. This is the type used on our sheep.
Early Electric Shearing
Sheep Shearing in Bennington, Vermont
Shearing live here in Western NY
Our Sheep are Shorn with Electric Clippers by a professional Sheep Shearer at Thistledown Croft. Below Steve Sandle of Westfield, New York, shears Islay a mature Ewe or "Gimmer".
These Clippers are very Sharp but Steve is very careful and seldom does he nick a ewe. Sheep don't feel much discomfort when they get nicked its like a mild shaving cut!
The Sheep are pretty good about being shorn and often ewes like Islay who have been shorn before relax completely. They feel very frisky after being shorn and it is a big relief to them.
Thistledown Caitlin, shorn or sheared
Caitlin and Company, Wooly
Scottish Blackface wool is a specialty wool in a class of its own. It does not compete with other wools at all and has no competition in its own particular field. There are variations in type of fleece according to the way the sheep were bred. In a general way, there're the south west type (short wool) and the central Scotland type (long wool).The south west type is the finer, with a Bradford count of forty or so, generally classed as short or medium, ewes fleece of S to 4% lbs. greasy. The central type is a stronger wool classed as long or deep strong; this type gives a ewe fleece of 5 to 61/2 lbs, greasy. The main markets are the mattress and upholstery trade, carpet and heavy cloth trade. Strong Blackface wool undoubtedly makes the best mattress filling there is: the demand for this is very good. The carpet trade all over the world (even New Zealand and Australia) uses large quantities of the medium class of Scottish Blackface wool. The finer wools are used for blending into many of the strong wearing clothes, over-coating,working tweeds and heavy blankets, The finest Scottish Blackface wool goes to the famous Harris tweed trade.
Most Shearing today is done using the modern Australian method as Steve is doing above. In the past in Scotland and other parts of Great Britain sheep were washed prior to shearing and when the sheep were fully dry, shearing began, usually in June. The sheep were put up on a bench and shorn using a different technique with hand shears. There are still a few shepherds who prefer to shear this way but most often this type of hand shearing is used only by showman to block their sheep or to crutch sheep as I mentioned before.
See a picture below of sheep shearing in 19th Century
Wool Washing in Scotland in the 19th Century in preparation for Shearing
This is not done today since shepherds don't smear tar on wounds anymore nor do we see as many really filthy sheep. They still dip sheep in the UK for parasites and it is actually the law there. Here we use wormers that also kill external parasites and the climate is different. Our hard North Eastern winters keep ticks and worms down. That is not to say we don't have to worm our sheep we do.
Tying fleeces after shearing 1880s USA
Very Special Thanks to Mr. Steven Sandle our wonderful
Shearer who does such great Job!
Shepherds Crooks USA
Scottish Blackface Ram
"Old woman, old woman, shall we go a-shearing?"
"Speak a little louder, sir, I am very thick of hearing."
"Old woman, old woman, shall I love you dearly?"
"Thank you, kind sir, I hear you very clearly."
copyright 2002 , Jim & Beth Boyle, All Rights Reserved
No part of this website may be used for any purpose ( including using images )
without written consent from The Rams Horn
'Feuch air fear coimhead Israil
Cadal chan aom no suain.'
(The Shepherd that keeps Israel
He slumbers not nor sleeps.)