HELP! SHEARING QUESTION?

aggieterpkatie

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The biggest tip in preventing cuts to sheep is to keep their skin taught. For example, when you're shearing their side, make sure they're not bending towards you. You want their skin kept taught so there are NO wrinkles. This is why you see shearers bend and move sheep certain ways.

In general, the more teeth the comb has, the easier it is to shear without cutting. I usually use a 13 tooth comb with my shearing machine.

Do you have any A5 clippers? Those would work well.
 

goodhors

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Here is a picture of Oster A5 clippers. They are small, maybe 8 inches long. They have single and 2 speed models, I have one of each. Single speed is powerful, does a good job. I got a deal on the 2 speed used, would not have gotten it otherwise.

http://www.householdappliance.com/goldena5.html

This is what we call the "big" Sunbeam/Osters for body clipping. Sunbeam used to be the company name, Oster bought them out. Still haven't got it straight in my mind when talking about them. Mine are elderly, were Sunbeams when I got them, still call them that! Probably should just call them Clipmasters, which is the model name.

http://www.householdappliance.com/clipmaster.html

I would strongly recommend a single speed model, they are more powerful than the variable speed models, don't get hot as quick. Somehow there is a power loss with the variable speed switch. We have had both kinds, traded off the variable speeds for single speed black ones. These black ones are what we use for both the sheep clipping and the body clipping of horses, same blades.

Clipper body is the same, whether using the head and blades above, or changing it to put a shearing head that uses combs instead. Not hard to do yourself. We have done that with one clipper we have. Then we changed it back to the regular head since it works better on the sheep.

Here is a site with all the clippers, blades down at the bottom, in all sizes and shapes to fit these clippers.

http://www.householdappliance.com/oster_clipper.html

There are LOTS of other places selling these clipper models, so it can pay to shop around. Even worn or old, all the parts are able to be replaced, so finding some yucky looking clippers in these models cheap, getting them fixed, could be a bargin. Blades need to be sharp, so sending clippers and blades in for attention is part of the expense of using them. Our local guy is GOOD, fixes and sharpens or tells you they are not worth fixing.

Other clipper brands are popular too, our 4-H folks like Listers. They have a LOT of sheep, but the Listers are what they use at the shows for market lambs. They do not use sheep blades either, which is where we learned our clipping methods. Wool comes off like a hot knife thru butter. No holes in the lambs, because they are clipping a couple hours before showing!

http://www.sheepman.com/ecommerce/ecomm_product_details.asp?prodId=1517&source=cat&catId=32

We also did the "more teeth on comb, the better the cutting" on advice from friends. I think ours are 17 tooth combs, which didn't do any better on our lambs. We do pull skin taut, have non-wrinkly sheep! Still do best with the old Clipmasters and regular blades, not sheep blades.
 

GladeCreek

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goodhors said:
Here is a picture of Oster A5 clippers. They are small, maybe 8 inches long. They have single and 2 speed models, I have one of each. Single speed is powerful, does a good job. I got a deal on the 2 speed used, would not have gotten it otherwise.

http://www.householdappliance.com/goldena5.html

This is what we call the "big" Sunbeam/Osters for body clipping. Sunbeam used to be the company name, Oster bought them out. Still haven't got it straight in my mind when talking about them. Mine are elderly, were Sunbeams when I got them, still call them that! Probably should just call them Clipmasters, which is the model name.

http://www.householdappliance.com/clipmaster.html

I would strongly recommend a single speed model, they are more powerful than the variable speed models, don't get hot as quick. Somehow there is a power loss with the variable speed switch. We have had both kinds, traded off the variable speeds for single speed black ones. These black ones are what we use for both the sheep clipping and the body clipping of horses, same blades.

Clipper body is the same, whether using the head and blades above, or changing it to put a shearing head that uses combs instead. Not hard to do yourself. We have done that with one clipper we have. Then we changed it back to the regular head since it works better on the sheep.

Here is a site with all the clippers, blades down at the bottom, in all sizes and shapes to fit these clippers.

http://www.householdappliance.com/oster_clipper.html

There are LOTS of other places selling these clipper models, so it can pay to shop around. Even worn or old, all the parts are able to be replaced, so finding some yucky looking clippers in these models cheap, getting them fixed, could be a bargin. Blades need to be sharp, so sending clippers and blades in for attention is part of the expense of using them. Our local guy is GOOD, fixes and sharpens or tells you they are not worth fixing.

Other clipper brands are popular too, our 4-H folks like Listers. They have a LOT of sheep, but the Listers are what they use at the shows for market lambs. They do not use sheep blades either, which is where we learned our clipping methods. Wool comes off like a hot knife thru butter. No holes in the lambs, because they are clipping a couple hours before showing!

http://www.sheepman.com/ecommerce/ecomm_product_details.asp?prodId=1517&source=cat&catId=32

We also did the "more teeth on comb, the better the cutting" on advice from friends. I think ours are 17 tooth combs, which didn't do any better on our lambs. We do pull skin taut, have non-wrinkly sheep! Still do best with the old Clipmasters and regular blades, not sheep blades.
Okay, I bought the Oster A5 and it comes with a #10 blade. What blade # would I need to get to shear my sheep?
 

goodhors

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We used the #10 blade to clip the already sheared sheep down to the skin. She could not find the big clippers, so she got out the A5 and did a nice job. Cut off short wool, since lambs get sheared often to keep cool, gain weight for Fair. Left a very short fuzzy layer, perfect for showing.

Again, wash sheep well, liquid Tide is good, cuts grease and gets out dirt. Then blow off excess water with a shop vac or towel dry the lambs before shearing. May take half-dozen towels if wool has any length.

She cuts the wool while it is still damp. So do all the kids at shows, with their market lambs. Seems to work fine, they get an even, close cut for the class. I do take the blades off after, dry them to prevent rust. Kind of odd because I can't get any cutting done on the dry wool with those same clippers!

I would have more than one set of #10 blades on hand. If they heat up much, they get dull FAST. Test for heat with your hand. If you can't hold the blades, they are too hot for the sheep as well. You need to change blades or let the clippers cool off. If you cut and find dirt in the wool, you can dull them up. Keep them lubricated, try not to recut the same wool that didn't fall off well.

Some sheep are fine to sit down and shear. Mine have ALL fought like tigers, they didn't read that chapter about sitting and being quiet! We use a stand, which allows us to easily reach all parts with little or no fight. Getting lambs up higher, is easier on your back. Height makes a HUGE difference to me! Maybe you can cobble up a stand on a crate or workbench, with a headlock for the animal. My stand doubles as the dog grooming bench between sheep, dog is easier to do up there too!.
 

GladeCreek

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Hmmm....it sounds like I may have to trim the sheep with hand shears first and then use the clippers for a better looking cut....:/ I may have to think about this for awhile.

I have 2 Shetlands and they are pets only so I have no need to shear them more than once a year, I think. I am still new at all this. The people I bought them from just used regular hand shears and sat the sheep on their laps while they cut. I think I would prefer a stand though since I am now clipping my dogs too. Hurts the back, like you said, having to bend down all the time.

As far as a bath goes, do you just use the cold water from the faucet or do you use warm water? My babies could use a bath no matter what. They are dirty....:lol:
 

goodhors

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We use warm for that first shearing of long wool of lambs. Helps soap cut the grease and really clean the wool. Like everyone, the lambs LIKE warm water!

However with Shetlands, you may want to save the wool, and warm water may make wool felt if you rub it a lot to get it clean. Never sheared a Shetland! I would try the liquid Tide with cold water, see what you get. Other soaps could work, just may not work on grease as well. After bathing, I would REALLY blow them off with the shop vac, to remove water and fluff the wool well. The Fair Shetlands being shown, looked very clean and nice after blowing them to remove water. Kind of the "cotton ball on toothpicks" look which was very cute. Clean wool allowed examination for texture, crimp and "lustre" according to the Judge. He remarked on what nice lustre one ewe had.

I would be very hesitant to use hand shears, they are pointy and sharp! Just a big chicken, aiming such tools at an animal!! I am picturing here the one-piece old-fashioned shears with wide, triangular blades.

I would believe you could shear the long wool, using the A5 clippers. I use the A5s on my dog who has a massive coat each Spring. Her hair is like wool, curly and grows year around. She is trimmed using the #10 blades, like all the other animals. Our A5s had no problem with the lamb wool. Length should not be the problem, same amount of hairs attached to the sheep as if wool was short!! Just cut slowly, giving blades a chance to do their job, not push faster than they can cut so they bind up with clogs. Remove cut wool by a wrist flip with clippers or use the other hand to pull cut wool off the sheep. This cleans the skin working area, you are not double cutting the same wool to use up blade sharpness. AND you can see what you are doing better. If you want to save the wool, lay an old sheet under clipping area to collect it after you finish. Know that sheep seem to pee a LOT as you shear, so you don't kick wool under the stand to get VERY wet.
 
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