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please post pics of your shear blades! I am not sure I have sheep ones

Discussion in 'Behaviors & Handling Techniques - Sheep' started by kelsey2017, May 18, 2011.

  1. May 18, 2011
    kelsey2017

    kelsey2017 Ridin' The Range

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    I just bought an Oster shearmaster used off Craig's list. They are older but good quality and were not used too much. They had been used to clip show cattle.
    They work great on the heavy matted fleece and clip well, TOO WELL! I must have cut my poor sheep 6 times and even my own hand. I can barely think about it, it was so disturbing the first time a did it and it was not a deep cut but it was the size of a silver dollar. POOR POOR baby! I almost threw up. It really didn't bleed though so it wasn't too deep. I cleaned it and sprayed some blue cote. I was very careful after that but it is hard not to nick them here and there.
    SO PLEASE post pics of your blades, I think I just have the wrong bottom I think it is called a guide?
    My sheep is very fat and her skin is hard to stretch taught and there is a lot of fleece. I can't bear to finish or even begin on the other ewe until I know what to do. I creeps me out to think of cutting them again! I am being very careful but ACK! please help a first timer!
    I will post pics of the blades on mine soon as I can.
  2. May 18, 2011
    aggieterpkatie

    aggieterpkatie The Shepherd

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    I don't have pics of my exact shearing machine, but I have the Oster Stewart Shearmasters with a 2 1/2" shearing head, like this .

    I really like using a 13 tooth comb to shear, but right now I am using 10 tooth combs like this .

    And my cutter is just a standard cutter like this .

    Are you using sharp blades? It is VERY easy to cut the sheep, so you'll really have to move the sheep's body in ways that keep the skin taught so there are no wrinkles. Google a sheep shearing chart and you should find some shearing positions to try that keep the sheep bent and their skin stretched so you can shear without cutting them. You'll still get some cuts, but hopefully they won't be too major. :) And don't rush yourself. You don't want to be too slow because the blades get so hot, but you dont' want to rush through it.

    Also, don't lift the wool at all when you're shearing. Let it fall naturally, because if you even slightly lift it (like trying to help it come off the sheep's body) you'll increase your chances of cutting the sheep.

    Good luck!:)
  3. May 19, 2011
    kelsey2017

    kelsey2017 Ridin' The Range

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    This is like what I have, I will run and go see for sure.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
  4. May 19, 2011
    goodhors

    goodhors Overrun with beasties

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    They look like a model of sheep shearing blades. I hate those long pointy, SHARP blades on the bottom, seem to always cut or tear the skin while shearing.

    Not sure if you are saving wool to use or just getting her cleaned off.

    Using a stand for sheep, instead of trying to sit them up like professional shearers do, is a good starting point. You will be going slowly, sheep is comfortable standing as you work. Head is restrained, maybe you have a siderail so they can't go sideways to avoid you. We find this stand allows one hand to pull skin for wrinkle removal, smooth clipping.

    Keep your blades well lubricated. We have had to stop, take them off to remove lint collected under cutter, so they worked better. Cool-lube spray helps with heating of blades. Hot blades burn the sheep, makes blades lose their sharpness fast. Heat changes the "tempering" of blade, so when they "lose their temper" blades cutting ability goes and you need a new set. Heated blades then need resharpening, which cost you.

    Well used, but not hot blades may need the tension adjusted, so they cut better. Tension is the sleeve on the top point of clippers. Twisting it makes the holder arms push cutter blade down tight or loose on the bottom blade. Too tight and cutter won't move, could use up your sharpness just rubbing bottom blade. So start a bit looser, adjust until cutting smoothly. Keep the head of clipper unit lubricated well. I use sewing machine oil, which takes heat and doesn't irritate skin like kerosene used in the past. I DO NOT recommend kerosene at all, very flammable, some animals I know broke out in hives when it got on them. Took a week or so to reduce hives, then skin got all flaky and itchy where hives had been. Nasty looking. NOT worth it for cheap lubricant. However it was a past practice to use the kerosene, you may hear or see it still happening.

    Sheep skin is just VERY thin, easy to cut as paper with scissors or sharp clippers. You may want to have some quilting thread and a curved needle if you REALLY tear a hole in the sheep for repair. Small holes can go with the blue paint or some ointment, but a big, gaping tear, slice, needs fixing quickly. You can do it yourself, save the Vet cost. The horse fly repellant Swat, works good as first aid ointment on such wounds too. I get the pink so I can see if they have it on or need more.

    Sounds harsh to sew sheeps up yourself, but they didn't seem to mind much when I did it. One of ours got under a gate with a rusty seam, sliced his neck from one side to the other. Just did skin layer. Vet call is $40 plus expenses, didn't have it. I made the kid hold sheep while we washed wound with wound soap. Kid held cut edges together and we put in a number of stitches after cleaning the slice. Sheep didn't fight stitching, just stood still, had no anesthetic.

    Quilting thread worked well, easy to grasp and tie, curved needle made it easy to place stitch where needed. I did sew back from the edges so they would not rip out with skin pull. I pretended I was fixing a leather mitten! I think he had more than a dozen stitches, about 1/2 inch apart. Left them in 10 days, neck check daily to keep it clean and wore pink ointment during that time of heavy flies. We cut and pulled stitches, wound edges healed nicely closed in that time. Kept wound covered in ointment for quite a bit longer, wool coming back. NO fly infection, my big worry. Sheep healed well, wound was invisble by Fair on black wrinkly sheep.

    Waiting any time will allow tissue to die, so hole is even bigger and not covered from infection exposure. Sometimes you gotta do what needs doing. Creeped me right out, but sheep needed stitches for that hole, his whole neck top was gaping WIDE open a couple inches.

    Good luck with your shearing. You will get better with practice! Sheep stand is a huge help, keeps them quieter, REALLY saves your back by not working bent over so much for a long time. You can check around and make a wooden stand for putting the sheep on if you don't want to buy one. Narrow is good, so you don't have to lean over to reach the sheep, and a good head holder.
  5. May 19, 2011
    aggieterpkatie

    aggieterpkatie The Shepherd

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    I normally tip my sheep like the pro's do it, because I find it easier to manipulate them while they're on their rump. This year I tried to do them standing up and it was WAY harder for me to not cut them. Back and sides were fine, but from the shoulders up there's no way it was working for me. I had to set them on their rump to do it.

    And be careful adjusting the tensioner!!! If it is too loose the cutter can break the comb and fly off. Premier has a "how to" for tensioning. Turn the knob until you feel resistence, then turn 1/4 turn farther. I'll have to double check the catalog, but i'm pretty sure that's what it said.

    And the long pointy toothed combs work well for pro's shearing many sheep. It gets the wool off fast. My old boss used one. I prefer the 10 or 13 toothed ones, and I wish I had a 20 tooth one like the one pictured above!

    I actually wish I had the clippers from Premier instead of my shearmaster.
  6. May 19, 2011
    kelsey2017

    kelsey2017 Ridin' The Range

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    Thanks guys, I did try both tipping and standing. I found standing easier because the wool kind of peeled off and moved out of the way while I worked. The ewe I was working on didn't even flinch when I cut her thats why it was so disturbing. She knows I am going to make her feel better. I have shaved horses and their skin is much tighter and tough, I never would have guessed it would be so easy to nick a sheep. The way pros go about doing it, let alone the fourth graders at the fair! I am such an amateur, thank god I wasn't planning some fancy project out of the fleece.
    I am grateful for the reassurance that my blades are okay. They are very sharp and tension up well. I just need to get some more oil (and maybe quilting thread) before the second round.
  7. Aug 6, 2011
    genuck

    genuck Ridin' The Range

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    I haven't used big clippers on my sheep yet. I used just an a5 type on my ewe and dog shears on my ram (cut him open, oops). When I body clip horses and when I did the ewe I keep a shallow dish of rubbing alcohol on hand also my oil. Dip the running blades into the alcohol every few minutes to cool it off and remove and dirt/hair or lanolin build up. Use a little oil as needed. It will save your blades and make clipping easier. I've also heard of someone using a dish of hot water to clean the blade during shearing. I'm going to stick to alcohol though.

    They are a lot like shaving a cat, have to stretch the skin in some places, and not at all appreciative!

    I am getting my new power shears in a few weeks, can't wait to try them out on the goats.

    P.S. don't feel bad about nicking the sheep, I did it and I'm a dog groomer, I spend half my day with clippers in my hands. It happens to the best of us!

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