I hurt my wrist and elbow at work Monday, so progress on Liam’s fleece has slowed to a near halt. Today I noticed Neo starting to chew his wool off, so since I couldn’t do any combing I decided to roo him instead. Because that’s not hard on the arms at all. Ahem, yes, not my smartest decision. I’m typing one-handed, if anyone’s interested.
I tried to get a good shot of Neo’s shaggy coat with the tufts sticking out, but all the pictures turned out like this.
“Move over, I want the crunchies!”
“YOU move over! They’re MY crunchies!”
Sheep. No manners at all.
Rooing a Soay is much better than shearing them, since Soay fleeces are so short they can’t afford the length lost by shearing. They also tend to be hairy/kempy, and when rooed the undercoat comes away and leaves most of the hair and kemp that would otherwise end up in the fleece. After I’m done pulling the undercoat away, I usually go back over with the shears annd clean up what’s left, just because I think that sparse outer coat makes them look mangy.
On the right side the wool has been plucked away, leaving most of the kemp and guard hair.
The loose coat must itch or something, because when it gets really loose the sheep will start pulling it out themselves with their teeth. I know it’s getting time to roo when I see clumps of wool stuck to their mouths. Unfortunately that means I lose most of the wool if I wait until the coat is completely loose, so I do usually end up shearing at least part of the fleece. The shearing part took four times as long as the rooing part, because Neo’s fleece was dense. Really dense. So dense I could hardly get the shears through the wool to cut it. I almost decided to give up and leave him with a poodle haircut until the rest of his fleece loosened, but I hacked my way through it in the end. I think between him and Liam my shears have just about had it.
In all, I ended up with two grocery bags of nice (for a Soay) rooed wool, and one grocery bag of not so nice sheared… stuff-that-grew-on-Neo. Everything from wool to hair to grass seeds. Lots and lots of grass seeds. Between that and the shorter length it’ll have to be processed separately from the rest of his fleece.
I also ended up with a very grumpy wether.
“Leave me alone, MeanShepherdPerson! I don’t want your stupid crunchies.”
On the other side of the field, Mira is doing very well moving in with the ewe flock. She still cries and comes running if she sees me, but otherwise she’s perfectly happy.
Nova is less happy, as Johnny insists on wandering off with Will, despite her (loud) yelling at him to come back. Soay are pretty quiet so I usually look outside if I hear baaing, but I’ve given up checking on them when I recognise Nova’s voice. She’s always just lost track of her wayward son again.
The ewe flock, with Mira in the middle. And Johnny hanging out with Will on the opposite side of the flock from Nova.