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Free images - Livestock - Shearing Sheep

Note on large files:  Very large files may be bigger than your screen.  
Right click on any portion of the image showing and chose "save as".

 

 

What is wool, fleece, and shearing?

Wool is the hair grown by sheep as well as other animals that is eventually twisted into yarn and used for knitting and weaving.  

Although we typically think of wool coming just from sheep, there are many types of wool.  The term "alpaca" is wool from an alpaca; "cashmere" and "mohair" are wools from goats; "vicuna" is the wool of the vicuna; "qiviut" comes from muskoxen; "angora" comes from rabbits; even camelids give wool.  

Electric clippers for shearing sheepWool is quite different from human hair or animal fur.  It is crimped, elastic and grows in clusters.  It is all these qualities that make it ideal when spinning.  The crimped and cluster nature make the individual fibers attach to each other.

Fleece is the term used to describe the woolen coat of a sheep, particularly after it has been sheared.

Shearing is the process of cutting wool off a sheep.  This is typically done once a year, but with some fast-growing breeds, twice.  

 

Why are sheep sheared?

The wool coats of sheep are sheared for two reasons:  to collect the wool for sale and to make a sheep more comfortable by removing the heavy wool which might make them overheat.  When the fleece of a sheep is long in length, it is time to cut the wool off.  

The person removing the wool is called a "shearer".  Once the wool has been removed, it is said that the sheep has been "shorn" or "sheared".  

Right:  Shearing_clippers_1  (336 x 448)
Large:  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.  (2083 x 2774)

 

 

  Steps of shearing

While an implement very similar to scissors was used to shear sheep in the past, machine shears similar to human hair clippers are now typically used.

1.  The sheep is tipped onto their back with their belly exposed.  Keeping the sheep comfortable and stress free makes the shearing job easier.

2.  The wool from the belly is removed first and usually discarded since it is the dirtiest and not valuable for selling.

3.  The rest of the wool is now shorn with even, masterful strokes.

 

Sheep being shorn.

Sheep Shearing - 1   
This was this young sheep's first shearing.

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

Large - 4608 x 3456  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

 

Shearing clippers cutting fleece off sheep.

Sheep Shearing - 2

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Large - 4038 x 3028  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

 

Shearing a sheep with electric clippers

Sheep Shearing - 3

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

Large - 4608 x 3456  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

 

Cutting wool off a sheep

Sheep Shearing - 4

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

Large - 4608 x 3456  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

 

Shearing a sheep with electric clippers

Sheep Shearing - 5

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

Large - 4608 x 3456  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

 

Removing fleece wool with electric clippers

Sheep Shearing - 6

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

Large - 4608 x 3456  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

 

Shearing a sheep

Sheep Shearing - 7
In the hands of a  professional, this sheep was very quiet and calm during shearing.

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

Large - 4608 x 3456  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

 

Sheep shearing

Sheep Shearing - 8

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

Large - 4608 x 3456  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

Did you know...

that shearing sheep has become a type of sport?  Competitions are held in many parts of the country and world - particularly at agricultural events.

 

Did you also know....

that raw wool cut straight off a sheep is called "greasy wool".  The wool fibers contain a waxy substance called "lanolin" that sheep used to waterproof their coats.  It's great stuff and used in may human beauty products today.  During shearing, the lanolin melts and helps to lubricate the clippers.

 

Removing fleece from a sheep

Sheep Shearing - 9

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

Large - 4608 x 3456  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

 

Removing the last of the fleece from a sheep

Sheep Shearing - 10

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

Large - 4097 x 3073  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

 

Suffolk sheep with black face

Suffolk Sheep - 2

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

Large - 4608 x 3456  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

Suffolk sheep above prior to shearing - photo below, after shearing.

 

Black face and heads of Suffolk Sheep

Suffolk Sheep - 1

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

Large - 4608 x 3456  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

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"Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no  questions, they pass no criticisms." 
~ George Eliot ~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The greatness
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~ Mahatma Gandhi ~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I like pigs. 
Dogs look up to us. 
Cats look down on us.  Pigs treat us as equals."
~ Winston Churchill ~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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