A New Hope for Wool

Do you see a problem with this fleece?

Yes, a lot of hay or, as spinners say, vegetable matter. The cause, in my case, little sheep who eat under bigger sheep at hanging feeders. Up until now, I have only had one standing feeder in the barn. The rest of the hay was put either in hanging feeders or in tubs on the floor. A couple months ago I ordered more feeders and just picked them up this week.

My friend Dona and I took a little field trip up to Shaul’s Manufacturing to pick up my order (which also contained some more panels as, according to other sheep friends, you can never have too many of those!). Shaul’s is located in a very pretty area.

And we saw some amazing bird formations…

Here’s the Shaul work area…

…and here are my feeders waiting for me!

And, yes, you can fit two feeders and a few panels into a mini van – notice how Bill used the seat belts to secure them for our trip home.

Back at at the farm, the feeders were quickly unloaded…

…..under the watchful eyes of the flock.

Sid, "What are they taking in there, Marley?" "I'll check it out, Sid. You wait here"

"Just as I thought, it has something to do with more food. Yes!"

These feeders help keep fleeces cleaner because of the “wool saver” panel above where the sheep should eat. On our visit, Bill Shaul told us that he came up with this design to help out a friend with sheep who was getting too much hay in her fleeces.The panel keeps most of the hay from falling on top of the sheep as they eat. Here, Nellie shows the right way to eat from the feeder.

Of course, some sheep don’t read the feeding instructions and so can still cause hay to spill more…

"It just tastes better from the top"

So, here’s hoping for cleaner fleeces at the next shearing. In the meantime, Robin has showed me how to use wool combs to clean Cassie’s fleece so, hopefully, all is not lost this year. Since the Shetlands will always be smaller – and thus likely to get more hay in their wool if they eat near the others – I have had another friend make a suggestion to help them eat in a separate place if this feeder placement doesn’t work as well as I’d like.

[and to Marley’s apparently growing number of fans, he says to let you know he’ll do another blog in the new year – right now he’s busy eating……running away from Mobi, who accidentally got into the pasture today…..eating…..checking out the new feeders……eating…..checking out the new pasture…..eating……]

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Published in: on December 16, 2011 at 5:21 am  Leave a Comment  

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