Finally the shearers arrive, only 3 days late and one shearer short, BUT we have made a start.
The sheep have to be yarded hours before they are due to be shorn, so that their tummies empty out. They will be alot more comfortable while the shearers handle them. I think the sheep are looking forward to having their woolly jackets taken off as the weather is warming up.
Every night we put the sheep in the shed, as there is nearly always a dew in the morning that would make them wet. The dogs have been VERY busy all week, mustering and penning up the sheep to be shorn.
Beau and Bear are nearly worn out, Beau has a very sore foot. He has a grass seed stuck between his toes, we have had to take him to the vet to get some medicine. Dad has to get the young dogs to fill in, Boy and Kirk love that idea.
The shearers travel to the farm everyday, they have to get out of bed very early. They start shearing at 7.30am, I am ready and waiting! Shearers are very hard workers, they have to catch and drag the sheep from the pen. That takes alot of muscles! They shear the sheep so quick. If you blink you nearly miss them. One shearer can shear a sheep in less than 2 minutes. He shears 200 sheep a day. That is alot! He gets paid $2.65 for every sheep he shears......he must be rich!
After the sheep are shorn Mum and the shed hands prepare the wool. The fleeces are thrown onto a table and the edges are skirted, they take off short, coloured and any other bits that are bad. It is very important that the wool is prepared well. The floor is swept all the time, and the short bits are kept separate. I am good at sweeping.
Mum looks at every fleece of wool on the table, she has to check its length, strength, colour and softness. Mum and Dad are very pleased with the wool this year, it is very long, each sheep is cutting about 5 kilograms.
The fleeces are put into a wool bin ready for pressing. Dad is the wool presser he operates a very noisy machine, he also has to pen up all the sheep when they call SHEEPO!
|IN it goes|
|and squash it down!|
Lots of wool goes into the press, each bale weighs about 190 kilograms. The press squashes all the wool in. I try to help Dad load the wool into the press, but my arms aren't quite big enough and my legs aren't quite long enough. When the bale comes out it is branded with letters and numbers. Then it is ready to go on the truck to the wool store.
Shearing is a busy time, it has taken the sheep 12 months to produce the wool, and within a matter of minutes it is all over for another year.