You may be familiar with the fundamentals of sheep shearing, but do you want to take it a step further? We can help you improve your shearing technique or learn some useful methods.
Be confident with your blows
Being confident with your blows is one of the most critical parts of becoming a skilled shearer.
- Avoid second-guessing yourself or fumbling with the shears because this will simply increase your chances of making a mistake.
- As you shear, try to build a rhythm to help you transition from one piece to the next.
Use your left hand to keep the skin pulled taut
The shears will move more easily and get a closer cut when the sheep's skin is pulled taut.
- It is important to constantly use your left (or non-dominant) hand to stretch the skin you are about to shear.
- This is particularly important for sheep with finer wool, as their skin is more wrinkled and harder to see through the excess wool.
Know your sheep
Being familiar with your sheep will make a world of difference when it comes to shearing.
- Knowing whether she's fat or skinny will help you to navigate her body shape and move the shears at the right angle over her hips, shoulder and spine.
- Knowing how many teats she has (some sheep have two, others have four) will help you to avoid them while shearing, and prevent you from accidentally shaving any off.
- Being familiar with the overall health of your sheep is also useful. Healthy sheep produce plenty of lanolin (a wax-like substance produced in the sebaceous glands) which melts and lubricates the blades of the shears, helping the wool to come away more easily. The lanolin on unhealthy sheep tends to stay thick, clogging up the shears.