When shearing a sheep there is a system; one shears up one side then down the other.
All the while the sheep is moved, rolled, held, and if done correctly relaxes into the system as its fleeces comes off in one big piece.
First off comes the belly wool
The belly wool is discarded as it has lots of field dirt and is made up of quite short fibers so not good for spinning.
Next comes the inside of the back legs, which is also discarded as this area has lots of mucky bits. I Dag my sheep before lambing so this area tends to be cleaner then those who don’t dag.
(Dagging is shearing or clipping off the wool that is around the tail end and can be full of fecal matter).
After the dirty wool has been shorn and discarded the back leg is next. Depending on the shearer they might go for the right or left back leg. Andrew goes for the left one.
With Zwartbles and their long tails this is also when their tails are shorn.
Once the leg is cleared, the next step is shearing up the chest and neck under the chin of the sheep following through behind the ear and around to the middle top of the head.
Once the left side of the neck is cleared the sheep is laid down so around her elbow and side belly can be shorn
Then the long strokes from rear end to head are done.
The last long stroke is up the spine of the sheep. Once the left side back strokes are finished Andrew works his way down the right side of the ewe’s neck and on down to the right shoulder, slowly rolling the sheep as he goes.
The ewe is being rolled sightly all the while as he shears down to her shoulder
Once again the Ewe is rolled to shear on down her right side belly down the loin area and over her rump
When a shorn sheep is released right after shearing she staggers about like a drunk for a few moments getting used to the sudden loss of weight. The fleece can weigh as much as 11 pounds.
In these Modern times there is no need to roll a fleece up, as most people just toss the fleece into a bag but if you only have a few and want to sell them as a raw whole fleece; here is how you roll a fleece.
You first make sure the area is clean, then toss out the whole fleece like a blanket shorn side down. Making sure it is flat and spread in the shape of its shorn self. Then you fold over each of the long sides from the hind leg to the front leg on each side like you would the sleeves of a shirt, meeting them in the middle or spine area of the fleece.
Once both long sides are folded into the middle of the fleece you start to roll it up tightly from the tail end, rolling towards the neck end of the fleece.
When you get to the neck end of the fleece if you step onto the upper shoulder area twist and pull & twist and pull the neck fleece out your making a kind of fleece rope
When you get it to a certain length you might want to stand up using both feet to keep pulling and twisting your neck fleece rope
When your neck fleece rope is long enough, you tighten your rolled fleece and roll the neck rope around the fleece roll as tight as you can and tie it into its self by tucking it under. This rolled raw fleece weighed in at 9 pounds.