Recently, I noticed that Blizzard's fleece had begun to shed, so I decided it was time to roo him. Now, for those of you who aren't sheep people, you're probably saying "What does that mean?" It's a question I asked a couple of months ago when I first saw the word used in reference to fleece, so I didn't know either! Some breeds of sheep have fleece that begins to shed naturally, when it reaches a certain length. Shetland sheep and Icelandic sheep in particular are known for this. To "roo" a sheep means that you pluck its fleece out by hand. You can just kind of pull at it and it comes out in your hands. Our first 3 Icelandics were not shorn in the fall because, by the time we bought them, it was too late to shear them. Thus, their fleece is VERY long and it's not surprising that they are shedding it.
Fortunately, a couple of weeks ago I had purchased a set of hand shears - not the electric clippers, but the "scissor" type of shears. I also purchased a "deck chair" for sheep, having seen one on another blog, and I thought it would be useful. I can't remember whose blog it was, but I asked them about it, so if it was your blog, let me know so I can link to it! Sure enough, it was VERY useful.
Unfortunately, I don't have pictures from the process itself. That's because I was doing the rooing (and shearing) and Kelly was holding on to Blizzard with every muscle in his body! Several times, even though Blizzard was in the "deck chair" he nearly got out, and Kelly had to wrestle him. Then, when I had to do his back end, Kelly sat on him while I did the shearing. He is an extremely strong ram. Oh, I also trimmed all his hooves while we were at it. During one of his hissy fits, he kicked hard, and managed to make me stab my hand with the hoof trimmers. Sharp!! Wow!! Blood everywhere!! (mine, not his)
So, here's the final product!
All the areas that are sort of soft and cloud-like are the roo'd areas.
As you can see, not the entire fleece was ready to roo, so I had to shear some places (namely on the chest area and his hind quarters. I guess it's OK for my first try.
I left the belly area alone and will let our real shearer do that when he shears our other girls later this month. You can see below he had a little area on his right side that wasn't roo-able, so I sheared it too.
What do you think sheep feel when they've been sheared? Are they embarrassed around the other, unsheared sheep? Does he feel less of a "man" in front of his ladies? This is Flurry, below, and she's still in full fleece. Behind her is Poppy, but her fleece doesn't get as long as the Icelandic breed.
I hope he feels more comfortable now. I have a big bag of fleece to take to the processor. I'm not sure if it will be good for processing because it was roo'd but we'll see.
Thank you so much to Deb at Antiquity Oaks, who posted her Creme Brulee Pie recipe. I altered it slightly, using a little less sugar, and omitting the turbinado sugar, but adding a teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg. Next time I'm going to add a splash of Amaretto! Anyway, it was wonderful and Kelly ate it too!
Finally, I leave you with a lovely sunset from last night - crossed jet trails and a glowing orb. The same orb that gave me a sunburn on March 21st, in IOWA!!! Crazy....