Earlier this month we sheared our flock of Suffolk and Mule ewes – during which I photographed the process (whilst also being part of the ‘back office’ team) and documented the sheep shearing gang (Ed, Alex and Freedom) in action. The resulting photo story or ‘guide’ (in the loosest sense possible) is below.
And if you want to find out more about Ed Gingell (who recently won the Seniors English Shearing Circuit) or are considering a career in shearing check out my interview with him here.
A guide to sheep shearing..
1. Pen your sheep – This is normally the farmers job and we use our mobile sheep handling system ‘Prattley’ to pen our flock of ewes and lambs..
2. Employ a local sheep shearing team. If you only have a few sheep you could have a go with a pair of hand blades but with nearly 220 ewes it pays to call in the experts. Here’s professional shearer Ed Gingell setting up his hand piece.
3. Often sheep shearers work in pairs – meet Alex (Ed’s shearing partner over for the season from New Zealand)..
4. Have a solid ‘back office’ team – often comprising of the farmers or farm workers – our job is to ensure a steady supply of ewes to the shearers (professional shearers can shear upwards of 500 ewes in a day each)..
5. Ewes going up the ramp to meet Ed and Alex – being the hottest day of the year our ewes couldn’t wait to get their fleeces off..
6. Here’s a video of Ed shearing one of our Mules..
7. Rolling the fleeces – Meet Freedom (who is also over for the season from New Zealand with Alex) who’s job was to roll the fleeces and put them in the wool sack.
8. No sheep shearing gang is complete without a trusty sheep dog or two – anyone notice the numberplate?
9. And a group photo to celebrate a job well done…and in Ed’s case an impressive farmer’s tan.