A few years ago, I would not have guessed how much I would enjoy leaving my 12 year old in charge in the house and going out to shear sheep on a nice day. If you try shearing your own sheep and are frustrated or afraid you will get injured, find someone else to do it. But it is worth trying if you like handling your sheep and are interested.
Below: Brutus, about to be shorn; Me with a black yearling in my lap for shearing; Emily trying hand shears with before and after shots of Dolly; Flopsy, freshly shorn; skirting fleeces; our clippers; Frank rocking the pitchfork. 2022 update: This will be my 4th year shearing all the sheep myself. I like this job even though some of them give me a bit of a rodeo.
Sheep and Lambs: Pasture Life
Ponies at work:
Here are a few pictures of Millie and Tillie’s yearling fleeces start-to-finsh. This was my first attempt at shearing. It took about 2 hours each with the hand shears.
Milk and Cheese:
In 2015, Ben and I milked 10 ewes for a month. Close to weaning time, we separated the lambs from their mothers during the night, let the ewes out to graze, and put them all on pasture together after milking in the morning. Babydolls are not a milk breed, and yield was only 1-2 cups per ewe per day, but it gave us insight into which ewes in our flock have the best udders and ability to produce milk. I didn’t take any pictures of the actual milking process, but here are some of the things we made. Yogurt (not pictured) with honey was the kids’ favorite. On its own, the milk itself was sweet and mild.