It had been unusually warm all week, as high as 60 degrees and lots of sunshine. But the evening before we sheared the temperatures dropped back down in the teens and our shearing day’s high would not go much over the high 20’s. Most of the day the sun poured in through the barn windows while we sheared and skirted; we were all more than comfortable, including the sheep. We had a lovely shearing day as we harvested our year’s wool clip.
Aaron Loux can be found @ http://www.aaronshearing.com/
This year we invited Aaron Loux, a circuit shearer here on the east coast, to shear 61 of our purebred heritage Finnsheep. Aaron was gentle with our Finns, which was a priority for us. Finnsheep are very prolific, and the pregnant ewes are carrying multiple lambs each. The fleeces came off like butter under Aaron’s shears. He was careful and conscientious of our hand spinning wool clip. After 61 sheared, he could have easily sheared more. Many of our finnsheep were coated all winter. It was important to keep the fleeces free of hay and straw, so we left the holding pen straw free. This year we built a raised platform for Aaron to shear on. Plywood on the ground does work fine, but using the platform kept the shearing area extra clean. We will use the raised platform again. Since Aaron was shearing all of our Finns in one day, I asked some friends to help me lightly skirt and bundle the fleeces. They were a big help and I was glad to offer them some beautiful Finn wool for their assistance.
One week later and the adult ewes already are growing their next fleece. Finn fleeces have a nice 5-6 inch staple after a year’s growth. Nutrition is important at all stages of the sheep’s cycle. Proper nutrition protects the fiber from breaking and helps maintain the Finn’s silky, soft, crimpy wool that hand spinners covet.
Our yearling ewe’s above are in top condition. I have already begun to skirt the fleeces. First clip lamb’s wool is even softer and perfect for next to skin garments like scarves or baby products such as blankets, bibs, hats, and booties. More about the fleeces to come.
We had a second lambing period last year and these later born younger ewes will add to our flock of breeding ewes this fall. We plan to retain a few more ewe lambs due to start arriving in just a few days. Add these to our growing flock and I would say that Aaron will have a bigger group to shear next year. We may have to start a little earlier so that we can enjoy a nice lunch in the cabin again. Most shearer’s welcome a meal, and it was nice to come into the cabin, sit buy the fire awhile and get to know Aaron.
Aaron’s Shearing Service on Facebook
Our next blog we will share our beautiful fleeces we are busy skirting; some of the fleeces will be sold to hand spinners and felters. Some fleeces will go to our mill to make top, roving and yarn.