The sheep were sheared this weekend! It is not as simple as just shaving the sheep as it is with clipping a horse- sheep shearing requires special training and specialized equipment. There are even special shoes that sheep shearers will wear!
We are very lucky to have the man who used to be in charge of the Mission Viejo High School Agricultural Program available to come out and shear the sheep- he was the person who was in charge of the babydoll sheep breeding program there, and helped with us taking in Phillip, Ferdinand and Magellan. Although he has left the program, he still offers to come out and shear the sheep every year. He even helped to trim their feet for us!
Ferdinand was sheared first- usually we get Magellan first because he is the calmest, but Ferdinand just stood there when we went in their pen. When he was younger, Ferdinand had a seizure while being sheared, so we have been very careful ever since to go slowly and give him breaks if he seems stressed. Thankfully for the past few years he has been calm and has had no problems, and he was quickly sheared and walked over to Ruby’s hay and started to eat her breakfast. Phillip was next- he is always the most difficult because he usually tries to bite and kick (he does this when we trim his feet, too- I have had several cloven-shaped hoof marks on my leg from him kicking me). This year he was more subdued, so he was done quickly. Magellan was the last sheep, and he is always the best- he just sat there, waiting for Daryll to be finished, and then wandered off to eat some breakfast.
When the sheep were younger, after they were sheared, they didn’t recognized each other at first, and would head butt each other. Thankfully more recently they seem to remember each other even after their haircuts, so there was no head butting, and they just kind of wandered off and enjoyed foraging from the horses’ breakfast hay until we put them back into their pen.
If we didn’t shear the sheep, they would be incredibly uncomfortable during the summer, and the sheer weight of their wool would make it difficult for them to move around. Now they are ready for summer, with their new summer haircuts!