Friday, April 29, 2011

Shearing Day at Whitmore Farm

While we specialize in Katahdin hair sheep at Whitmore Farm, we recently started experimenting with some wool/hair crosses to see how this would affect the carcass quality of our animals as well as the flavor of our meat.

We decided to start by adding a Texel ram from our friend and well-known Texel breeder, Bev Pearsall. Lucky for us, she had a nice ram born with a big brown spot on his jawline, an unforgivable fault by the Texel breed standard.

Interestingly, we saw a lot of 'colored' Texels (gray, brown, tan, even spotted) during our visit to Holland last Fall, but white is still the standard for the breed both here in the U.S. and Holland. Considering that our flock of katahdins has a TON of color in it, you can surmise how much I like color in sheep.

Anyways, being a wool sheep, Arnold develops a very healthy coat during winter and needs to be sheared in order to maintain his comfort during Maryland's hot summer months. The wool is of a poor quality and has no real value in spinning.

So earlier this month, we held our First Annual Shearing Day at Whitmore Farm to shear one animal...Arnold.

Technically, this was our 2nd annual shearing day as last year I trimmed Arnold. Afterwards, we decided rather than being called 'shearing day', we would call it Bloody Sunday. No arterial bleeders and nothing that couldn't be fixed with some suture and a lot of blood-stop powder.

I offered to do it again this year, but for some reason Will was reluctant....

Luckily for us, Amy Miller, a local shearer, was available and willing to come out and spend a few hours fussing over our ram, and as it turns outs, one of our Great Pyrenees who was in desperate need of a clipping.

'I may just start a dog grooming business on the side' Amy added after clipping Ween down to a soft, clean summer cut.

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