Useful Tips

How to shear sheep


Shearing sheep is a responsible occupation. To do everything right, you need to know the process technology and be able to choose the right tool. Considering the fact that sheep are animals unique in their productivity, each farmer should be able to derive maximum benefit from their keeping. Getting high-quality wool will be a pleasant addition to meat products.

There are two ways to rid these animals of their hair: purchase a clipper or use special scissors. We will talk about each of these methods in this article.

When Shearing Sheep

Shear these animals 1-3 times per year, depending on the breed. Shearing of fine-wool and semi-fine-wool sheep is carried out once a year - in the spring, coarse and semi-coarse-haired sheep - 2 times a year - spring and autumn.

A prerequisite for haircuts in the spring - warm weather should be established. This is usually the second half of May, the beginning of June. It is important to have time to do this before the maturation of plants such as burdock, since the thorns adhered to the rune hopelessly reduce the quality of the coat.

Another desirable factor - lamb after wintering should steep fat and become fat and round. In a well-fed animal, the hair is elastic, soft, and cutting a rounded ram is easier.

Autumn haircuts are carried out during the period (depending on the region) from the end of August and all of September. In such a way that before the onset of cold weather the sheep have time to grow. Romanov sheep can cut 3 times a year - in May, July, September, as their hair grows faster than others.

What do sheep shear

There are only two types of tools for shearing a sheep tribe: sheep shears and a sheep shearing machine. Shears for sheep are divided, in turn, into single and double.

Single - the simplest and cheapest, require great physical strength, are used by experienced craftsmen in small farms, with a livestock of no more than 20 goals.

Double Sheep Shears - An improved option, such a tool can be selected individually. The original design of such scissors allows you to cut more quickly and smoothly.

The range of sheep shearing machines is very diverse. When choosing a machine, you should focus on such characteristics:

  • tool power - the machine must withstand a prolonged load (focus on the number of goals in the flock),
  • weight - matters during many hours of operation,
  • easy maintenance - electric scissors should be easy to disassemble for cleaning and lubrication,
  • the possibility of acquiring spare parts - sooner or later some part will fail,
  • the presence of a fuse will protect it from accidental breakdown of the unit in inexperienced hands.

How to Shear Sheep

Need to prepare a place. It can be a clean, dry, bright barn or just a canopy. We need a table on which a haircut will be carried out, or a wooden flooring, or at least a tarpaulin spread on the ground (it is definitely not worth cutting animals on bare ground).

Divide the corral into two parts: for uncut and sheared. Before shearing sheep deprive food and drink at least 14 hours before the start of the procedure. This is necessary so that the animal does not fulfill its natural physiological needs during cutting.

Make sure that dry animal coat. Wet hair is not stored, very quickly deteriorates. The technology for shearing sheep is the same, regardless of which tool is used for this - scissors for sheep or an electric machine:

  1. a shaggy animal is caught, carefully laid sideways with its back to the hairdresser. So that the ward did not have the opportunity to actively kick, the ram's legs should not rest on anything. Three legs are tied together, the fourth remains free. The adhering litter and dirt are removed from the wool,
  2. the haircut begins with the hunter, gradually moving to the inside of the thighs. Both the front and rear legs are fully trimmed
  3. cut the stomach and chest as follows: the strip is cut from the groin of the hind leg to the armpit of the front, then from the udder to the neck. With these successive movements, the hair from the bottom of the lamb is completely sheared. In the udder area, you need to cut very carefully so as not to injure the animal. For reliability, the udder can be covered with a dense material,
  4. the machine turns off, retracts to the side, the sheep is turned belly to the shearing unit. Croup, a loin, a side, a shoulder blade, a withers is sequentially cut. The animal is flipped to the other side, the procedure is repeated,
  5. the haircut is nearing completion, the most valuable fur on the back and head remains. We proceed as follows: from tail to head, longitudinal stripes are sheared from the back. From the head and neck, the fur is removed towards the body. Everything, the execution is over, the fleece is carefully separated from the ram’s body,
  6. the animal is put on its feet, examined for cuts, if any, they must be treated with a disinfectant. You should also trim the hooves.

Features and timing

First of all, you need to know when to shear the sheep. In this case, two factors should be taken into account: weather conditions and how much the animal has grown.

The main condition is consistently warm weather, otherwise the animal deprived of hair can freeze and become ill. However, one should not wait for the July heat - the fur protects the sheep not only from the cold, but also prevents it from overheating.

Trimmed in hot weather, she may lose her appetite, which will affect income if animals are raised for slaughter. In addition, in summer, wool is easily contaminated with burdock and other plants, which is why sheep shearing knives wear out faster and the fleece loses quality.

Sheep before shearing

The growth rate of the coat and its structure determine the cutting frequency. If the fleece is homogeneous, the procedure is carried out once a year, if mixed, twice a year. Most often, sheep are sheared in the spring, before the beginning of June. The second time the wool is removed at the end of summer, no later than September, so that the animals have time to grow it before the onset of cold weather.

Particular attention should be paid to lambs and sheep with mixed wool. Cubs are cut at the age of 5 months. If their hair is thin or semi-thin, you need to wait until it grows by at least 4 cm. Sheep must be cut before the onset of heat, since when they warm, they begin to molt and lose fluff - shearing sheep will become less profitable.

It’s best to do this spring without waiting for June.

Advantages and disadvantages of different types of haircuts

In the work you can use scissors for shearing sheep or different models of electric machines for shearing sheep. The choice is based, first of all, on how many heads need to be shaved - if the herd is large, processing it with a hand tool may simply not be enough strength, but scissors are much cheaper. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages.

There are two types of hand shears for shearing sheep:

  • Double - this tool is easier to work with, it is better for beginners,
  • Unary - in fact, these are two knives cast from a single piece of metal, which is why more work is needed to work with them.
Sheep hand shearing with scissors

Shearing sheep has two advantages: a mechanical tool is cheaper than electric scissors, more hair is cut, since the knives can come closer to the skin of the animal. Because of this, this method is more cost-effective for small farms.

The disadvantages of shearing sheep with scissors are more:

  • Laboriousness - it is necessary to carry out a large number of uniform actions,
  • Danger - without experience it’s easy to injure the skin,
  • Duration - it takes more time to work, and a large population can not be cut off at the right time,
  • The possibility of damage to the rune.

In the absence of wool removal skills, it is better to pay attention to sheep shearing machines - they are more expensive, but they will last for a long time, so the costs will surely pay off.

Shearing sheep

Electric scissors allow you to quickly process a large herd without difficulty for the shearer and harm to animals. Their only drawback is a higher price. It is worth noting that even when using a typewriter, you still need to have scissors to cut the tangles.

What do you need for a haircut?

The procedure for removing wool should be thoroughly prepared. For a haircut you will need a tool:

Sheared lambs on a wooden flooring. A string is needed to bind the limbs of an animal and immobilize it. It should be thick and durable, it is better if the rope is made of natural, not synthetic fibers. Otherwise, she will yell into the body of the ram, because the animal sometimes kicks a lot during the procedure.

Important! Even if the farmer prefers to work with a shearing machine, scissors will still be needed to remove the tangles.

General Sheep Shearing Rules

Before the procedure, the animals are not fed for a day and are not watered for 12 hours, so that they behave calmer, in addition, the coat will be cleaner. If the fleece is wet, you need to wait for it to dry, because when dried separately from the sheep, it can deteriorate.

Work is carried out in a clean and dry room. It is best to use a table for shearing sheep, covered with tarps - this will simplify the collection of cut wool. The procedure for the procedure is as follows:

  1. The animal is laid on its left side with its back to the cutter, so that it does not rest on its feet with anything.
  2. Paws are cut first, the area around the tail and the belly around the udder. Nipples should be covered with your palm so as not to cause injury. Wool from these parts of the body is deposited separately.
  3. A strip is cut along the abdomen from the inguinal region to the sternum, then the abdomen and chest are completely trimmed.
  4. Sheep shearing equipment is turned off and laid aside, the animal is flipped to the other side.
  5. The rest of the body is trimmed (first the scapula, then the croup, sides, withers, back, head, and last of all, the neck). Long strips should be cut without spending more than once in one place.
  6. Skin lesions are treated with any antiseptic.

The procedure is the same regardless of whether an electric or manual shearing machine is used.

Trimmed sheep

After the procedure, the animals are fed in smaller portions so that there is no digestive upset. To avoid diseases and sunburn, you should not take the flock to distant pastures and graze it during the day until the hair grows. It is best to stay in the shade or under a canopy.

Is a manual or electric haircut better?

Manual is called a scissors haircut. They are of two types - in the shape of a heart (double) and straight (single). The first ones fit comfortably in your hand, they are easier to manage. The latter are intended for professional use, their blades resemble knives in appearance. To trim a sheep with them, you need to have a good command of the instrument, otherwise there is a risk of injuring the animal.

Sheep shearing

Manual shearing is used in small private courtyards where several sheep are kept. The procedure requires not only dexterity and skill, but also physical strength, because the animal must be kept during the haircut.

Reference. Working with scissors takes up more time and effort.

Electric haircuts are used on large farms where many sheep are kept. If the procedure is performed by the master, then it lasts no more than 5 minutes. Shearing machines look like those used by the hairdresser, only they are more powerful and more. The device is equipped with sharp knives that easily cut off thick fleece, while a person does not have to make an effort, as is the case with a manual haircut.

Whether to use scissors for shearing sheep or a shearing electric machine, the master decides. The choice of tool is determined by the amount of work and personal preferences of the person.

Machine selection and care

To make wool production cost-effective, you need to not only know how to cut sheep properly, but also be able to choose equipment. In order for the clipper to realize all its advantages, when buying, you need to pay attention to the following criteria:

  1. Power - the shearing speed depends on it.
  2. Noise level. Sheep have a sensitive hearing and are afraid of any harsh sound, so a quiet machine will greatly simplify the work and reduce the risk of injury to the animal.
  3. Reliability and maintainability. Even the best quality tool wears out over time, the knives get dull, parts have to be replaced - parts must be available.

You should also find out the most popular tool models, since choosing a clipper for sheep will be even easier in this case. Different domestic and foreign electric scissors meet the requirements:

  1. MSU-200 is a Russian-made machine, the most popular in the CIS countries because of the ease of purchase of spare parts. It has a powerful asynchronous motor and convenient design, allows you to shave up to 160 goals per day. Sheep shearing machine - МСУ 200
  2. ZXS Dimi Series - Chinese sheep shearing machines with rich functionality. They not only cut hair of any type well, but also blow the skin, soothing the animal. Sheep Clipper - Dimi Series by ZXS
  3. GTS - Swiss cars, silent and non-vibrating. Do not have interchangeable knives in the kit. Shearing Machine - GTS
  4. Liscop is a German tool with high reliability. Allows to shear up to 1000 goals per season. Shearing Machine - Liscop
  5. Monella is an inexpensive and convenient Chinese tool. The use of this shearing device for shearing sheep has one drawback - the poor quality of steel, which does not allow to sharpen knives. But new parts are easy to get, they can be used with better cars. Shearing Machine - Monella
  6. Takumi - Japanese devices that are lightweight and low noise. Shearing Machine - Takumi

For wool processing equipment to last for a long time, you need to properly care for it. In the case of clippers, the following rules must be observed:

  • Immediately after the procedure, the knives are cleaned of wool with a brush,
  • Do not use household chemicals for cleaning,
  • Knives should be regularly oiled,
  • When cutting quality is reduced, the knives need to be sharpened or replaced,
  • You need to store the tool in a protective case,
  • The machine can not be used to cut other animals and people.

General characteristics of the rune

Sheep wool is considered the most valuable sheep product. The breeds of these animals are usually divided into fine-wool, semi-fine-wool, coarse-haired, semi-coarse-haired. Modern methods of shearing sheep allow you to get excellent quality wool, which is much more in demand than sheep meat.

Fine-fleece and half-fine-fleece sheep breeds are the sources of the most popular rune of light industry (fleece - sheared sheep’s wool). Representatives of these breeds are sheared only once a year. An important condition is the establishment of the fact - the cut hair will have a length of 3-3.5 cm.

At present, the merino sheep, a fine-fleece breed bred in Spain in the XII century, which provided prosperity to this state for two whole centuries, is the most common as a source of high-quality rune.

Choice of a haircut period

Shearing of sheep is usually carried out in the spring. Young animals born in winter (from January to March) are usually sheared in the summer, maintaining the parameters of the standard length of the coat.

Sheep shearing in the spring is diverse in terms of time. It is directly dependent on the climatic zone, the condition of the sheep, their coat. In the southern regions, sheep are sheared in late April - early May. In other latitudes, the procedure is usually transferred to mid-late May, when warm weather is established.

The main parameters of the beginning of the haircut is the amount of greasepot (greasepot is a fat-like substance contained in sheep's wool, which is formed due to the combination of secretions of sweat and sebaceous glands of the animal). In winter, the sheep’s fat loss is not enough, as a result of which their wool is stiff and dry. Therefore, you need to wait for the fleece to acquire softness and elasticity, allowing you to maintain the optimal condition of the coat when shearing the sheep.

However, they try not to delay the deadlines. With the onset of warmer, hot weather on the pastures appears burdock and other herbs that cling to the hairs of sheep’s wool. The process of their removal is quite laborious, and the quality of the sheared material is reduced.

Cutting individual breeds

Sheep of semi-coarse and coarse-haired breeds molt in the spring. Therefore, sheep farmers need to carefully monitor to determine when they will begin the process of browning (browning - thinning of woolen hair). This time is the best, the cutting process is quite simple, the fleece is separated without much effort.

Coarse-haired sheep are sheared twice a year, semi-coarse sheep 3-4 times a year. Sheep of these breeds is required to get rid of wool necessarily, even if it is of poor quality and cannot be used. В противном случае они будут страдать от жаркой погоды, что приведет к ухудшению аппетита, задержке в наборе массы.

Стригут грубошерстные и полугрубошерстные породы так же, как стригут овец тонкорунных, по тем же правилам.

Ягнят стригут первый раз при достижении возраста 4-5 месяцев.

How to cut?

Since ancient times, sheep were sheared manually. Ancient sheep farmers used special scissors for this. Their form has not changed until now. Their distinctive feature is a convenient grip for hand grip. At the same time, their shearing is slow, but of high quality, with minimal injury to the sheep. Moreover, the blades on these scissors are easy to sharpen.

And now in those farms where flocks of sheep are small, manual labor is preferable. However, large livestock require the use of mechanized methods of cutting, which implies the use of special machines.

Sheep shearing is usually carried out in a separate room. It should be dry and bright. They prepare special floorings, tables, and a lost tarp to prevent loss of wool.

The cutting process is carried out in a certain sequence, in several stages:

  • the animal is laid with its back to the master on its left side,
  • the body surface of the sheep removes dirt
  • then they cut the ochvy, making passages around the udder, the nipples hide behind their hands. Then shreds of wool are removed from the inner surface of the thighs and legs, which are deposited separately,
  • in one pass, a continuous strip of wool is removed between the right pair of legs and inguinal folds. It usually moves from the back to the front,
  • the sheep’s chest and stomach are trimmed with longitudinal lines that start from the lower abdomen or from the udder,
  • then the animal is turned on its other side. The master becomes a face to his stomach, and the croup undergoes a haircut with a gradual movement to the left shoulder blade,
  • further, continuous longitudinal passages cut the withers, lateral surface, lower back. All movements go to the spine. The sheep is fixed so that the sheared wool falls to the floor by gravity
  • then the sheep is again laid on its side, the left one, while the master changes his position, becoming the animal’s stomach,
  • after that they cut out the right shoulder blade, croup, completely right side, back by means of longitudinal long passages,
  • then the head, neck on the right side, perpendicular to the spine, are cut. Raising his head, treat her left side,
  • the resulting rune layer is moved away from the ram.

At the end of the process, the sheep is put on its feet and escorted outside the place of shearing.

Working with scissors is similar to a machine haircut. However, when using the machine, care must be taken to ensure that its comb is always in contact with the skin and does not linger in one place. Otherwise, cuts are formed that reduce the quality of the rune.


Experienced hair trimmers father advise to use the recommendations developed in practice and tips, which include the following:

  • Sheep, having the maximum degree of fatness, cut much easier. Their fleece is well saturated with grease, the surface of the body is dense, even. Those sheep that are not well-fed have an uneven body relief, their coat is loose and dry.
  • 1-2 months before the start of the haircut, it is recommended to carry out a preliminary haircut. It is designed to clean the fleece from contamination, contributes to less time later, with the main haircut. A preliminary procedure is recommended in order to ensure the safety of the machines. It minimizes their work then with complex wool, leading to damage to parts. Those who will shear the sheep with scissors get rid of the need to sharpen them often.
  • Sheep is not fed before shearing. Under the stress that animals undergo when they are shearing, incidents with the gastrointestinal tract are possible, which can lead to serious consequences, inversion of the intestines and death. Without food, it is necessary to keep animals for more than 12 hours.
  • It is necessary to spread the cropped fleece on a flat surface, upside down, and clean it of dirt. It must be stored minimized, avoiding contact of the inside with the outside.
  • After the animals have been shorn, it is recommended that they be kept close to the covered premises. Do not take them to a distant pasture, so that they do not fall under inclement weather. Sheep is especially vulnerable after shearing. Sharp fluctuations in temperature, cold winds, precipitation can significantly damage her immunity.

Useful Tips

Experienced specialists, masters advise to be calm and confident before starting a haircut. Sheep and sheep feel the mood of a person. If he is nervous, then the animal, sensing his condition, will break out, twitch.

It is recommended to first shear the ewes, then the lambs (young ones are sheared just like ordinary sheep are sheared), and sheared with sheep.

It is proposed to get two assistants before the haircut. The first is responsible for keeping the animal, the second - for the assembly and sorting of wool. Moreover, teamwork significantly speeds up the process, facilitates it.

Animals that will be slaughtered for meat must be disposed of two or three months before slaughter. They are sheared in the same way as sheep not intended for slaughter are sheared. This is done so that the wool grows and the skin removed from the killed animal skin (sheepskin) retains its fur qualities.

Before shearing, the sheep are inspected to determine the priority. Animals in which the coat is wet are placed in conditions that ensure it dries.

A prerequisite for the places where the haircut will take place is the absence of drafts. Near the haircut should be located means for treating animal wounds.

If the process will take place in an open area, then it should be on a raised platform, with no drafts. The ground must be covered with a dense fabric (tarpaulin). It is advisable to equip it with a canopy to protect it from direct sunlight.

Haircut Methods

As noted above, sheep are sheared in two ways: manual - using special scissors, mechanical - using clippers.

The first method is time-stretched. However, shearing can cut the hair as close to the skin as possible, increasing its length.

The use of a mechanical method (a manual clipper) greatly facilitates labor and increases productivity. The fleece is obtained evenly trimmed, the animal suffers less. However, the machine must be correctly adjusted before that, check the tip of the knives and treated with an antiseptic.

Shearing machine for sheep is of two types - mechanical and electrical. The first is the same scissors that have improved blades and a comfortable grip. Electric is similar in shape to the apparatus with which human hair is cut.

Currently, preference is given to electric cars, since mechanical devices are considered disposable, more often break down. They speed up the cutting process by not much.

Choosing an electric car

In order to choose the best electric shearing machine for sheep, you need to get an idea of ​​the parameters. Properly selected devices are able to cope with woolen tangles, eliminate shortcomings in work. When purchasing them, it is recommended to pay attention to the following characteristics:

  1. Power. This parameter is important if you are cutting a large herd. Power determines the speed of work, the number of sheep to be processed in one session. If the livestock is up to 50 sheep, then devices with a power of up to 220 watts are usually suitable. More powerful ones are expensive and do not always pay off. A machine with a power of 320 watts or more is purchased for large farms. Manufacturers on the packaging, in the instructions for the product indicate how many animals can be processed in one season.
  2. Warranty period. A manual sheep shearing machine is not a consumer product. This is a narrowly targeted piece goods. As a result, service centers that are able to service and repair them are difficult to find. Typically, well-known brands give a guarantee for 12-18 months, which implies at least 4-6 haircuts.
  3. Consumables and spare parts. Cars operate in difficult conditions, sooner or later they will break down, fail. As a result, it is cheaper to replace a broken element than to buy the whole device. Some manufacturers, meeting the needs of consumers, produce the necessary, often out of order parts.
  4. Service. Sheep shearing machines should be regularly cleaned, lubricated, and individual elements replaced. If the design is complex, then this implies contacting specialists in service centers. The simplicity of the device allows you to maintain the device yourself, saving money and time.
  5. Circuit breakers. During operation, overheating of the machine is not uncommon. If it is not equipped with an overload fuse, then the likelihood that it will burn is high.
  6. Knives for sheep shears. Their condition, the quality of the metal is the main characteristic of the sheep shearing machine. The blades should be chipped, sharp, straight. Improper sharpening will result in injury to the sheep and damage to the coat. If the manufacturer puts interchangeable knives in the package, this is an additional plus to the acquisition of this model.
  7. Noise level. Sheep are fearful animals. A sharp noise can cause them to panic, which will be transmitted to the whole flock. It is very difficult to work with a twitching animal that intends to flee. It must be remembered that machines that emit sound up to 80 decibels are perceived as a working silent vacuum cleaner. Those that make sounds of 90 decibels or more are comparable to a running motorcycle engine. These are likely to scare the sheep.
  8. The country of manufacture. The best producers include, according to the masters of shearing, - the USA, Russia, Germany, Switzerland. Currently, China also produces successful models. The reliability of all of them is confirmed by time. However, the cost of many devices is high, not always affordable. The price of quality devices starts at 15,000 rubles.

How to shear a sheep: shearing technique

15 hours before shearing, the animals stop feeding. This measure helps keep the coat clean. The procedure begins with fixing the lamb. His limbs are tied crosswise. Some craftsmen prefer to simply tie the animal by one leg, and keep the remaining 3 by hand when the sheep are sheared. An experienced and strong master easily copes with this task, for beginners it is better to use a special machine for fixing the animal.

How to shear the sheep, consider the points:

  1. First, the wool is cleaned of impurities. Then the master puts the animal on its side.
  2. It is unprincipled with which part of the body to start cutting: some first remove the hair from the limbs, others from the head.
  3. If the master began to shave from the head, it is more convenient to switch to the back of the lamb. In this case, the wool is removed from the neck and moves to the tail. Each movement should be as accurate as possible.
  4. After processing the back, the master cuts the wool from the sides, then passes to the stomach.
  5. Shearing sheep requires skill and accuracy - you need to cover with your hand the nipples of the females and the scrotum by the ram. The skin in these places is especially delicate, it is easy to hurt.
  6. Removing hair from the abdomen and chest, go to the extremities. First, they cut the fleece from the inside of the thighs, then from the outside.

Sheep shearing principle

If the animal is sheared while standing, it is more convenient to start from the back, making quick and confident movements with the machine from head to croup or vice versa. Last but not least, wool from limbs is cut off. Experienced craftsmen give valuable advice to beginners:

  • you can’t walk twice in the same place with a machine,
  • knives should be kept as close to the skin as possible, but not to touch it,
  • turning the sheep over, they turn off the machine and set it aside so as not to injure the skin.

Attention! Particular care must be taken when treating the area of ​​the udder, nipples and scrotum.

Sheep shearing hygiene is strictly observed - after the procedure, the body of the animal is examined for cuts. If they are, they treat the wounds with disinfectants so that the infection does not enter. The shearing apparatus is cleaned of wool, and the knives are wiped with a clean soft cloth.

Important! For the safety of the blades, it is recommended to fold the tool in a special case.

How to store wool?

Sheared wool from a sheep is packaged. The one that was removed from the back, neck and lateral parts of the body is separated from the rest: this fleece is valued expensively. Sheep wool can only be stored in pure form. After packaging, it must be washed in a special solution. Prepare it from water, soap and baking soda. Recipe:

  • 6 l of water
  • 100 gram soap bar (grind),
  • 50 g of soda.

These ingredients are mixed to obtain a concentrated solution. Now it must be diluted with water, adding another 8 liters. Wool is thoroughly washed in this liquid, then rinsed several times and sent for drying.

Attention! The temperature of the solution for washing sheep’s wool should not exceed 50 degrees, otherwise the quality of the fleece will deteriorate.

After drying, the fleece is rolled up into small rolls and packed in paper or canvas bags. Store it in a dry room with good ventilation.

Sheep hair after shearing

Shearing is a procedure that allows farmers to earn extra income. The wool of these animals is highly valued, but it is important to consider that its quality depends not only on the breed of sheep, but also on the conditions of their keeping and diet. The better the sheep eats, the more fat in the wool gives softness. That is why it is important for the farmer to provide their animals with good nutrition.