During your RoadTrip you may need to work either in exchange for room and board or for cash. In New Zealand, there is sheep shearing which offers a lot of opportunity.
Why do we shear sheep?
There are three main reasons:
- First the welfare of the animal, after shearing the sheep are more clean, light and dynamic. It stimulates appetite and increases the vigor of rams.
- Secondly hygiene, shearing helps get rid of external parasites and prevent Myiasis. In addition it relieves the sheep of droppings and stains in the hindquarters.
- Finally facilitate breeding, with shearing the breeders can more easily diagnose the state of health of the herd and carry out the care more easily.
When to shear sheep?
Depending on the location, there may be one or two shearing periods during the year. The main one is in early summer. The second takes place at the end of winter to prevent Myiasis (skin disease caused by fly larvae).
How does shearing sheep go?
Here is how my experience went on a small farm with only 34 sheep. It took us 2 hours to shear them all.
Most farmers hire a professional shearer. This one knows how to handle the sheep so that it remains quiet and thus reduce the risk of accident and cut.
So you are probably asking yourself the question: What do they need us for?
Well there are several stations which allow the shearer to go quickly, the first consists in grouping the sheep in an enclosure attached to the shearing room and sending the sheep inside.
The second collects the wool and sends it to the sorting table. It also keeps the shearing area clean so that there is no risk of slipping and the wool stays more or less clean.
Finally we sort the wool by putting the soiled wool on one side and the clean wool on the other. The selling prices are different so it is important to do your job well. Then we fill the bags by separating the wool from the sheep, lambs and rams.
We have taken the time but in some farms it can become physical and you should maintain the pace.
What happens to wool after shearing sheep?
The bales of wool are either sold directly or put up for auction. In the major part of the cases the purchase is made by companies having large machine to clean, dry, ventilate and spin the wool, then transform into spools of thread, ball of wool, clothes or ball of wool for stuffing.
In other cases individuals or association of knitters … buy bales and transform the wool manually.
Please note that shearing is dangerous and must be carried out in accordance with the safety rules of the place where you carry it out. The shearing machine is very sharp, the skin can be cut very easily whether it is that of the sheep or that of the shearer.
Do not hesitate to be curious and ask what tricks they use to keep the sheep calm and thus avoid accidents.
Here I hope that this article will have been useful to you and do not hesitate to ask me questions.