He may break stuff a lot, but he is hands down the easiest sheep in the world to shear. Sometime last year I posted about how I trimmed several years worth of felt off of Duke with kitchen scissors through the Clubhouse wall. This year I was pretty sure his wool had felted again, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to catch him to shear it off. It would be difficult to get a halter over his huge handlebars.
I wandered down to the ram pen to brainstorm, absently playing with the scissors while I watched Duke and Barney graze. When Duke heard the noise of the scissors he looked up, walked over to the fence and put his head down. I started cutting the wool away from his neck and shoulders, and he simply stood there chewing his cud and half dozing. When I couldn’t reach any more of his wool, I stopped and sat back. Duke appeared to think for a minute or two, then shifted around and laid down against the fence so I could do his side. While I was cutting his wool, he would ruminate or even go to sleep on me. Every time I stopped, he would get up and change position, always exactly the way I needed him to.
The only time it got difficult was near the end. Barney got worried or jealous or something, came over and started pawing at Duke, resting his chin on my arm, blowing in my ear, and generally being a pest. I had to keep pulling back to keep my arms out from between their horns, and Duke had to keep jumping up to run Barney off. But eventually it was done, and voila!
That is one handsome ram!
And that is one ugly felted fleece. Oh well, at least it’s off of him. There are a few sections I might be able to pull apart enough to spin, but most of it is felted solid.
I may not be able to shear a sheep in less than two minutes, but I can take a few hours on a drizzly Sunday afternoon and cut the felt off of my ram without tipping him on his rear, tying him to fence post, or otherwise restraining or him in any way. There was zero struggle or stress on the animal, and I finished with neither blood nor bruise on either of us, which I call a resounding success.
Now if only he could teach that trick to the others…