Silly sheep who can’t keep the weeds and hay out of their wool, that’s who!
You may remember awhile back, I was complaining about all the alfalfa that gets into the sheep’s wool – especially the Shetlands. I think it’s because they are the smallest and get eaten over. I helped the situation by replacing hanging feeders with standing feeders. That has helped a lot. Another plan is to mow the pastures sooner next year so as to minimize the foxtails getting into their wool.
Again, the Shetlands seems to get the worst of the weeds. Not sure why that is. Look at how weedy Cassie was just before shearing.
Last November’s fleece was bad. Carding it just left all the weeds in. A friend (Robin) suggested I try combing it (with wool combs) to get the vegetable matter out. You lose a lot of the fleece that way but at least I could save a lot of it.
Here’s what last fall’s fleece looked like:
Combing it with these scary looking things…
…produced this beautiful looking combed wool
While I wouldn’t mind combing part of the Shetlands’ fleeces to get this nice preparation, it sure would be nice not to have to do it just to get the weeds out.
So, the solution may be to put coats on the Shetlands. Here are some choices I borrowed from my friend, Colleen.
Luckily, the Shetlands aren’t as hard to catch as some of the sheep but they still were not thrilled to see me coming with something strange-looking in my hands. So, we used the panels to make it easier.
One down, one to go.
I didn’t mean to trap the Karakul lambs but having more sheep in there meant Cassie couldn’t get away!
Of course, with coats on, Cassie and Carmen didn’t recognize each other and the other sheep thought we’d added more to the flock!
But, by the end of the day, everyone has settled down…
And all that really matters is the evening routine of getting fed and getting put to bed.
The coats need to be changed to larger sizes as the wool grows so it doesn’t felt. That will be the next challenge but hopefully it will all be worth it to get some really nice, clean fleeces!