Learning to hand shear

Hand shearing

This week it was definitely time for Winnie and Frank (our tame cheviot sheep), to lose their fleeces and the perfect opportunity for Alex and I to have our first lesson in hand shearing. Bruce did a fantastic job and straight away it was obvious to me what a skill it is. He held the sheep so they felt very secure and moved them as he cut their fleece. There was rhythm and a pattern to the whole thing. Bruce started with the belly and then moved to one side and then the other so the fleece then came off in one. Our fleeces weren’t really worth washing, as the sheep have spent so much time under the trees they were fully of allsorts! but underneath the sheep looked OK- gently fattening up on all the lovely grass we have at the moment. It was great to see how it was done again, but I think it is going to take quite a bit of practise to be confident enough to do a whole fleece. The shears are sharp and it is easy to nick the skin if you don’t know what you are doing, which can lead to all sorts of problems with fly strike at this time of year. Bruce expertly removed the fleece and the sheep ran off like spring lambs again! Next week we will be at Nathalie and Ewan’s farm just outside Beauly for our fleece to felt week where Ewan will be demonstrating hand shearing to the group.



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