Pets

The A-Z Guide To Grooming Your Sheep

Depending upon the way you are using your sheep, their grooming needs will vary. Based on whether you are breeding sheep or whether you just want to show a market lamb, you will need various tools to make sure your sheep are well groomed.

If you are preparing sheep for show, you will have toensure that they are regularly groomed and look sleek all the time. You willalso have to keep timelines in mind as you groom them. In order to make surethey are having the perfect look for the show, you will have to shear or clipthem a number of weeks before, so their wool looks appropriate.

Speaking of grooming your sheep, in this article we’ll be taking you through all the necessary points that you ought to keep in mind.

Supplies

You will be needing a lot of grooming suppliesto maintain your show sheep in the best shape. Basic grooming tools include sheep clippers and shears with different typesof blades and blade wash. Along with these, you will be needing curry comb,hoof trimmers, wools cards, hand shears and blankets. You will also have to getsheep specific bathing items like a sponge, livestock soap and towels.

So as to lead your sheep, you will have to get a lead rope and a halter; moreover, you’ll have to properly train them to lead. To get the best results, you will have to make a grooming stand all by yourself or buy one from the market and teach your sheep to stand on it. Make sure that you are never leaving your sheep or lamb on that stand unattended.

Fitting

No, we are not talking about the physical fitness here, though it’s important to make sure that your sheep is physically fit for the competition.

Here the term fitting means shaping your sheep or lamb’s wool appropriately to its body shape. Normally, the sheep looks muscular and not fat. So, before you enter in a competition with your sheep, find about the rules the organisers have set for the competition, as some of them require a fresh shearing, while some require that the sheep must not be sheared in a month or more than that. Regardless of the rules of each competition, ensure that your sheep has no nicks, ridges or cuts.

Washing

Just like the barbers wash your hair beforethey cut it, you should also follow the same procedure with your lamb. Beforeyou go ahead with the shearing process, wash your sheep and ensure there are no dirtyspots on their wool. If you neglect to give them a bath, a lot of dirt will beleft in their fleece. This dirt will later clog your clippers and may alsotangle up the wool while you are clipping it.

So, make sure you are giving your sheep a nice bath with a livestock soap and rinsing it down using a hose. After you are done bathing your sheep, dry it off completely using a towel or hair dryer. If you own a blow dryer made specifically for animals, you will be at an advantage. After your sheep is dried, make it stand on the grooming stand and shear down the excess wool.

Shearing

Never haste with the shearing process unless you are a professional in it. Shear your sheep carefully and slowly, and concentrate on getting that perfect shape. After your sheep is sheared in the perfect manner, try to keep its wool clean by covering it in a blanket. This will prevent the wool from catching any dirt or mud. Remove this blanket after you reach the competition’s venue or only before it’s your sheep’s turn to walk to the stand.

Blocking

If you are showcasing a breeding sheep, block its wool instead of shearing it down. The term block here means that you first card your sheep and then trim down its wool, so that the wool looks more uniform and appealing.

The process is time-consuming, as you will have to card your sheep’s whole body. But, to get started with carding, firstly wash and dry off your sheep. Only then put it on the grooming stand and place the card’s teeth into the wool; afterward lift the wool up and forward. Once you are done carding them, use hand shears to form even and symmetrical lines of wool. Once again, depending upon the show standards and your sheep’s breed, accordingly you will have to sheer your sheep.

We hope the above tips will help you groom your sheep in the right way and you both win the competition!