Friday was time for one of my least favourite tasks, when it comes to sheep – shearing. For the last 5 or so years, we have got a contractor in to shear all the sheep in our village, around 200 in total. 200 is not a lot of animals; we are a small village and only 4 of us have sheep! Before getting the contractor in with his electric shears, all sheep would be shorn by hand with a deamhais. Back breaking work which I hate!
Anyway, we have been using the same contractor since we started, Colin Chisholm. We gather all the sheep from the village parks and the crofts, before he arrives so that we hit the ground running. Here are some of the gimmers/wedders in the park while gathering.
Shearing was rained off in other parts of the island on Friday, as well as Thursday, but we were really lucky with the way things worked out on Friday. Nice dry breeze to keep the midges away, dry the sheep and keep us cool!
Everyone has a specific job; one to catch the sheep, one to take it to the shearer, the shearer (obv) and one to fold wool and pack it into bags. Helps to have this many guys working because it means it isn’t too tiring!
Here’s everyone at work. Donald ‘Chops’ Morrison with his back to me, my dad in light blue, Calum ‘Tod’ Mackenzie ducking, young Alasdair (Chops’ son) and Colin the shearer on the right.
At this stage you may, quite rightly, notice that I’m not doing anything. I dislocated my finger 3 weeks ago and I’m not willing to risk it around sheep – especially because I had a cup final to play in on Friday night (we lost, lets leave it at that).
Here are some of my sheep in a pen, awaiting their haircut
And this is how a sheep looks when they’re done!
This is a quick snap of the machine used
I left to go to the football as they were starting the last 30 sheep so should have finished around 5pm. I will help Calum with his 60 or so sheep when they are shorn an evening this week, and that’ll be us completely finished with shearing for another year! Incidentally, costs us £1.50 per sheep & £3 per ram. I had around 65 shorn. They’ve been left out in one of the village parks for the next week and we’ll gather them next Saturday to mark them and drench them. Next stage is separating lambs and mothers, in a few weeks. Needs to be done to allow the sheep a chance to recover and be in good condition for going back to the ram in October. I shall leave you with a picture of this quirky sheep!