“How many sheep can a sheep shearer shear if a sheep shearer shears HEEFS sheep”?
That tongue-twister may be fun to say five times fast…but when it comes to shearing the sheep at HEEFS, we take it very seriously.
A new “do” for the summer
Every year, around the end of May or early June, the sheep at HEEFS get their annual shearing. This year we sheared our sheep on May 20th. This timing was perfect to ensure that each of our sheep residents would be cool and comfortable for the hot summer months ahead, while also allowing enough time for them to grow their wooly coats back in before the colder weather returns.
8 sheep = 64 pounds of wool
On average, we shear 64 pounds of wool from our eight resident sheep. The amount of wool on each resident varies by their age and specific breed. Farmed sheep are bred to continuously grow wool, unlike sheep in the wild who will naturally shed their coats every spring. Without shearing, our sheep would overheat in the summer and suffer potential health concerns.
Sheep shearing day for our residents begins with each sheep receiving a full health exam. This includes recording their weight, cleaning their eyes, ears and bottoms, plus they get a complete body check and their hooves get trimmed, if needed. (Our sheep get regular hoof trimming every 6 weeks.) Once this is done, we start the shearing process.
We have a team of dog groomers who come out every year to help with the shearing and we also have experienced volunteers and our regular animal caregivers like Derek Walter and Andrea White who are also fully trained in the procedure.
Depending on the size of the sheep being sheared, the process can take anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour per resident. Using electric clippers for most of the wool, and hand shears for our sheep’s more “delicate” areas, we work as quickly, gently and thoroughly as we can to ensure a comfortable experience for all.
We get asked a lot…
What do we do with all that wool? After the wool is removed, we place some of it around the wooded areas of HEEFS for wildlife to use as nesting material and the rest gets composted.