Shearing Explained in Written Form

1 . Dragging a Sheep

  • Enter the pen quietly
  • Walk calmly up to a sheep that is facing away from you.
  • Use your knees to push the sheep against another sheep or the pen
  • Grab the sheep under the chin.
  • Grab the sheeps rump
  • With one motion pull down on the rump and lift up on the chin
  • The sheep will fall gently on its side
  • Drag the sheep backwards either by its 2 front legs or by pulling one leg and the side neck wool

2. Starting Position

  • With the handpiece dangling from the parallel shortgut, place a dot on the floor directly beneath the handpiece. “Place the tail of the sheep on this spot”
  • The sheep should be facing slightly inwards at about a 1 o’clock position

3. Belly Wool

  • Place the sheeps right front leg, between your legs, behind your backside.
  • Ensure the sheep’s belly surface is flat where the brisket meets the belly proper.
  • Depending on the size of the sheep, you may have to lay the sheep flatter (for bigger sheep). More upright (for smaller sheep) to get the belly flat.
  • Your left leg should be slightly behind your right leg as you hold the sheep so the sheep sits on its inside hip. Sheep Comfort
  • Start the machine
  • With about ⅓ of a comb width start at the top of the brisket and follow the belly line down into the flank. Changing the angle of the handpiece to follow the body of the sheep. As you get to the flank, use your free hand and place it under the back of your clipper and pull the loose shorn skin up to bring the last of the belly flank wool into your comb. This will ensure you “Don’t cut the Sheep” in the flank.
  • Stay between the back legs of the sheep when shearing the belly.
  • 2nd Blow of the Belly should run parallel to the first blow. Using the same technique to finish the blow off by placing your free hand behind the clipper and pulling the skin up, which makes the wool come up to the comb. At this point you have a teet in front of the clipper. To avoid cutting the teet flick the clipper up with a loose wrist which cuts the wool but goes over the teets. Half the Belly should be done.
  • 3rd Blow will start at the brisket again. The brisket now should be free of wool. Run this blow parallel to the last blow following the same techniques as the previous blow.
  • 4th Blow, start underneath the shorn brisket and into the flank finishing the same as the previous blows. There may be only a tiny bit of the belly to finish so just clip that off. These last blows, drop the back of the clipper, which will help with a smooth finish and won’t leave tufts of wool.

4. Between The Hind Legs

  • Walk forward a couple of shuffles, this releases the sheeps front leg from behind your backside and enables you to reach where you are shearing.
  • 1st blow runs along the top of the inside leg. HINT Don’t run along the very top of the sheep’s leg. If the sheep kicks up into the clipper you can cut her badly. Run the blades slightly on the inside of her leg and you will never cut the sheep.
  • 2nd Blow, turn the clipper around to clear the wool from between her legs. Use a loose wrist here as the wool can be sticky. When you come around close to the teets, use your free hand to cover the teets so you don’t cut them. Continue the blow out to the end of the other  back leg.
  • 3rd blow, use the same technique as the 1st blow but this time on the sheeps outside leg.

5. First Hind Leg

  • Starting back at the hip knuckle of the sheep, run a blow on the outside of the back leg. NOT ON TOP!!
  • Turn the clipper around and run your 1st Blow into the flank of the sheep. Clear the flank completely of wool. This ensures proper blade entry on the Long Blow.
  • 2nd Blow start half way back on the flank and with the sheep sitting up straight between your legs and your toes pointing forward, run this blow straight through down to the backbone
  • 3rd, 4th and 5th Blows should run parallel to each other, finishing just before the backbone. You need to walk forward with your outside foot and back with your inside foot with each blow to expose the wool to be shorn.
  • 6th Blow goes under the tail.

6. Undermine

  • The undermine is 2 parallel blows to the floor.
  • 1st Blow follows the top side of the backbone
  • 2nd Blow follows the bottom side of the backbone, closest to the floor. Use your free hand to pull the sheep slightly up to get this blow.
  • As you do both blows, keep the sheep high and step back slightly on your inside foot.

7. Head

  • After the undermine sit the sheep up straight again between your legs
  • 1st Blow should start from the muzzle end and go to the inside ear. Aim for the butt of the ear so you don’t cut the ear.
  • 2nd Blow follows the first blow and takes the wool form the middle of the head
  • 3rd Blow follows the last 2 blows and goes straight out to the butt of the outside ear

8. Neck

  • With the sheep sitting straight up and the sheep facing at 45degree angle to your downtube, walk between the legs of the sheep. With a 1-2-3 movement, starting off with your outside foot.
  • The sheep should be sitting up straight with its brisket over its right teet.
  • Your legs should be slightly bent and feet facing forward. The sheep should be well balanced and squarely in the middle of your hold. It feels very comfortable here with not much weight on your back or legs.
  • 1st Blow goes on the top side of the neck. Do a clearing blow and then go top side and as you get to the chin, change the angle of the clipper to come straight under the chin.
  • Break the wool out with your free hand by following the shorn wool up the neck.
  • When broken out. Tuck the non shorn wool behind your inside leg knee so you can see your work clearly.
  • Clear the wool on the cheek now while you are up at the head. From the jaw run a blow straight to the butt of the ear. Go back to the bottom of the cheek and run a parallel blow, which is only half the first sheek blow. This small blow helps on your next 2 blows.
  • The 2nd neck blow should run parallel to the first but on the bottom side of the neck. It should finish at the base of the ear.
  • Now move your outside foot forward and inside foot back in a shuffle. This keeps exposing the sheep to be shorn. Also setting the sheep up for the long blow.
  • The 3rd blow runs parallel to the previous blow. Do another 1-2 shuffle with your feet. And run 2 blows behind the ear. This will help you on the long blow as well.
  • The 4th blow will run parallel again. This blow may seem too many for the neck but it will help you get over the shoulder blade, eliminating cutting the shoulder on the long blow

9. First Front Leg

  • Keep the sheep high at this stage as well. Your inside leg should have its knee in the sheeps brisket and the outside leg should be squeezing the sheeps upper back. This keeps the weight off your back when shearing. NOTE: Try to hold the sheeps weight with your legs, not your arms. Keeping the sheep more upright makes the sheep comfortable and less weight on the shearer.
  •  1st blow on the front leg should start at its elbow. Follow the previous blow to where the unshorn fleece makes a straight line.
  • 2nd blow will run adjacent to this blow and you will see where to stop the blow as the wooly straight line starts to stand out.
  • 3rd blow should follow the armpit and stop where the other 2 blows stopped
  • With your inside leg do a final shuffle with your foot and the rump of the sheep should swing out away from the downtube slightly.
  • The 4th blow starts under the armpit, where the belly wool was shorn and swings around adjacent to the previous blow. This blow helps you get a great rhythm on the long blow, where you can remove a lot of wool very quickly and easily.

10. Long Blow

  • Your inside leg should be between the sheep’s back legs and your outside foot should be under the sheeps shoulder with the sheeps 2 front legs behind the shearers outside leg. You should have complete control.
  • The sheeps body should be sitting at about 1 o’clock.
  • There should be very little foot movement for the first 4 blows. Only move your outside foot slightly out to expose the sheep for its next blow.
  • Do 4x Blows running parallel to each other. 2 short blows then 2 longer blows. Always start with a full comb and finish with a full comb.
  • Place your inside leg over the rump of the sheep. Keep the foot about 5cm from the rump and move out slightly with your front leg.
  • 5th blow can be achieved easily now. This blow will run parallel to the backbone.
  • Move your outside leg about 15cm out and wrap the sheep’s head around your outside leg. At the same time bring your inside leg up to the rear of the sheep.
  • 6th blow runs parallel to the previous blow but will be over the sheeps backbone. Keep your comb full.

11. Last Side Cheek

  • Bring the front of the sheep inwards with your outside foot and have the sheep slightly on its backbone.
  • Hold the side of the sheeps head with your free hand against your knee.
  • 1st blow across the last cheek should come from underneath the ear. Drop the back of the clipper and direct the blow slightly up, using your free hand to hold the sheep’s ear back.
  • The 2nd blow runs parallel to this blow and should finish underneath the chin to clear any fribs.

12. Last Side Neck

  • 1st blow runs straight down the neck to the shoulder blade.
  • As you run this blow, bring the sheep’s head up between your legs and hold the sheep’s head with your knees.
  • 2nd blow runs parallel to the first, finishing at the shoulder blade.
  • The 3rd blow follows the 2nd blow.
  • Shuffle back slightly. Holding the sheeps head behind your legs and above your knees. This makes the sheep lighter
  • 4th blow runs parallel to the ground underneath the shoulder blade and clears and wool lest on from around the brisket.
  • 5th blow runs parallel to the 4th blow but will go straight out the front leg.
  • Do a small half blow on the leg parallel to the last blow.
  • Shuffle back a little more, keeping the sheep high and its backbone straight.
  • Lift the front leg and gently twist the elbow knuckle inwards. This makes a flat surface to shear on, eliminating cutting the sheep.
  • 6th blow should clear all the wool under the sheeps armpit but following the outline of the sheep. Finish this blow just under the elbow.

13. Whipping Side

  • Keep the sheep’s head high behind your legs.
  • 1st blow runs downhill into the flank.
  • The 2nd blow runs parallel.
  • Bring the sheep’s head in front of your knees now and let the sheep rest on your inside leg. Hold the head still by having your free elbow on the sheep’s head.
  • The 3rd blow runs parallel to the previous blow but continues on out the leg. Use your free hand to feed the leg wool into the comb.
  • 4th blow runs parallel to the previous. When the blow gets past the hip knuckle press the hip knuckle in with your free hand
  • 5th, 6th, and 7th blows all run parallel to the previous blow. Start and finish with a full comb. Press the hip knuckle down with your free hand knuckles to keep the sheep’s leg straight.
  • Keep walking back slightly with each blow, exposing the sheep for the next blow

14. Congratulations, You Have Successfully Shorn a Sheep.

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