SageHill Ranch Journal

SageHill

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Then I wouldn’t go. If you would have to take a shot you don’t want, forget it.
Exactly! There may be a checkbox option for 'not willing to disclose status' - so if I try that'll be my choice - though I kind of think that's the take this one out of the pool sort of thing.
 

SageHill

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So you aren't running the comb down on the skin? That would explain the length left on.
Yup -- too chicken with my lack of experience - though I am getting bolder :lol: and getting closer with each one! I figure I'll have to shear again this year -- with the whopping 3 that have to be done I'll be looking forward to it. All the others shed out pretty nicely (it's all over the fences :lol:).
 

Bruce

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I think the shears and combs are meant to be run along the skin for the best cut. I tried a few times with the alpacas and they worked great for about one side of one animal then were too dull to cut well. The boys like to roll in dirt, in fact make themselves a dust bath area in the pasture whether I like it or not. All that dirt dulls the shear blade just like dirt dulls the teeth on a chain saw. Neighbor found someone to come shear their 2 last year and they came here after. Their tricks:
1) Make sure the alpacas haven't been out in the rain for a couple of days
2) Use a leaf blower to blow all the dirt out before shearing.

Not sure this second one would help as much with sheep since they have a lot of lanolin where alpacas have little. I suspect that lanolin would hold on to the dirt and it wouldn't blow out.

ETA, You don't want to make a bunch of short choppy cuts and go back over it, long runs cut best.
 

SageHill

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Tomorrow is May 1 - how the heck did that happen?!!
The last couple of weeks I've managed to get out an graze a bit. All with Obi - I really should get some more in with Zo before the absolute end of the season is here. We just do small areas now and not the grand go all over the ranch picking the "sweet spots". The days we do get out it's cool - usually 50 something and foggy. It warms up pretty fast so our time is short. I'm working with Obi being less active on the graze - but darn the dog really does know best (most of the time ;) ). When we put in the arenas last year we had to hydro-seed the fill slopes (pretty much everything on the ranch we do is cut and fill - the "joy" of hills) and I refuse (at this point) to use the meadow at the west end for anything other than being a meadow. At any rate the hydro-seed last year was a dry land pasture mix. The first year it's left alone to establish itself. THIS year is year TWO :) and it came in beautifully. Today I had the sheep munch on some of the slopes. It took them a little bit to get going but once they did they were in grazing heaven. With what I'm seeing I am seriously considering doing the same in the meadow. I have to get used to thinking in terms of years especially with our weather conditions.

Yes, I can see the sheep down there.
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Oh geeze, the dog is a task master - eat here, don't eat there.
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These purple flowers are pretty tasty. (California Cranesbill)
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Yum - real pasture yummies
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And to finish this entry up -- in this crazy world even the "rainbows" are upside down - yesterday and I'm
renaming these ...... "sky stripes"
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(might God be smiling on us?)
 

SageHill

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Still managing to get out grazing some of the time - though it's not quite the same. We've been working the roadsides. Sheep are perfectly happy obliging the 'work activity'. Heck it may even 'file' their hooves' down some, I know it's working on Obi's nails. I've been wanting to do this with Zo, but I think I'll hold off. It takes a calm easy going dog who can move quickly and quietly when needed. Working along asphalt requires a certain amount of restraint and easy anticipation on the dog's part. The surface can be "slick" for sheep who may decide to move too quickly and "splat". This is something that Obi excels at - calm, quick when needed, and anticipate what the woolie creatures will do.
This morning we were out and things got a bit noisy - though not from Obi, but from a helicopter working the neighboring avocado grove. I'm happy to say that the big bird and it's noise didn't bother anyone (except me trying to get a good pic :lol: ).
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Weed 'abatement' crew....
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Because our road "crew" are not perfect I've been doing a lot of string trimming. DH bought a new head for the old battery trimmer - the new head uses a thicker line! YAY - and it can cut through tough weeds like mustard as if it's butter. AND -- we just got a new gas trimmer that takes even thicker line and has faster RPMs!! Waiting on a face mask to get here before I take that baby out - it's going to be fun (wow my definition of fun sure has evolved! :lol:
 

Ridgetop

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When shearing you have to put the clippers against the skin and shave against the way the hair/wool grows. BUT make sure you pull the skin taut when moving the blades across the skin. If the skin is not taut, wrinkles can form froem the pressure of the blades. Wrinkles in the hide when shearing are what cause most of the cuts in sheep. Sheep like Merinos with very loose, wrinkled skin produce more wool because the looser hide has more hair follicles. The loose skin can get cut by the clipper blades very easily if it is not pulled tight under the blades. The large shearing blades/cutters can take off a human finger, a teat, or a penis so going slowly as you learn is a good idea. As you get more experienced you will feel more comfortable shearing closer to the skin surface. Just take your time and enjoy yourself. I used to shear all our sheep on a stanchion with a sheep head. The sheep head is like the grooming bar on a dog grooming table except it does not go over the sheep's head with a loop. Instead, it has a U-shaped set of face bars attached on the top. The sheep's head sits in the U and there is a chain that goes around the back of the neck to keep the sheep immobile in the stand. If the stand has a lightly longer chain, you can do a second loop over the nose for more control. Most commercial fitting stands (stanchions) also have side bars that slide into fittings on the stand platform. You can move the bars from side to side when moving from one side of the sheep to the other to work.

Making short cuts in the fleece when shearing is frowned upon because the longer the wool the more value it has to spinners. BUT unless you have one of the specialty wool breeds whose fleece is bought by spinners, there is little to no market for the wool anyway. And unless you learn to skirt, wash, card, and process the wool for sale to those spinners, (which is a real job) buyers are limited. No one wants to buy fleeces "in the grease".
 
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