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๐Ÿ™‰Sven has decided it is time for a hair cut and deposited most of his old fleece across the blackthorn and fence posts as you can see in the third photo he only had a few tufts of his last fleece attached.. he had such a beautiful fleece ๐Ÿ˜ญ I gave him a tidy up and you can see in the fourth photo what he looks like now – not much different really! He is rapidly growing a new fleece it is already about 1 inch long. Sven gets a natural break in his wool in February it is common for primitive breeds to do this in the spring and rams typically get the break earlier than ewes due to hormonal changes. Icelandic sheep are a double coated breed and it is only the fine wool that breaks – the long guard hairs continue to grow. Meaning the wool comes away but the guard hairs don’t so the sheep still has some weatherproofing and are not completely fleece-less. Sven did exactly the same thing last year in February except for last year he had a much longer fleece which didn’t come away quick enough and the guard hairs felted into the wool in one solid mass, shame it was full of gorse else it would of made a beautiful rug! This is why I opted to shear him last autumn in order to get 1 workable fleece from him. His wool is just so beautiful but he has a habit of seeking out all the gorse and overhanging trees and dragging himself through it ๐Ÿ˜ฌ At the moment selling fleeces, wool and wool products is what is sustaining the flock and paying for their feed, husbandry and vets bills.. I need to tell that to Sven so he better looks after this new fleece ๐Ÿ˜œ
I know there has been a lot of negativity going around on the internet in recent months about shearing sheep being cruel.. These photos of Sven show how shedding or self-shearing is a natural thing that is supposed to happen. But for most sheep is doesn’t as they have been bred over many years for a better fleece that doesn’t break and get lost in the fields. Those sheep need to be sheared to prevent a horrible death by fly strike and to make them more comfortable in the summer months. Undoubtedly there is miss treatment of sheep at shearing time and nasty cuts do occur probably as a result of rushed careless shearing with electric clippers. This is why I choose to shear the sheep myself with my husband and use traditional blade shears. I just find it a much more pleasant peaceful controlled experience and I’m certain the sheep do too. But there are also many many very skilled shearers who do an amazing job and when I was pregnant with Elsie I was fortunate to have one such shearer come and shear the flock for me. This year as I am not expecting so I will be going it alone with some help from my husband again. At the moment I am really looking forward to it but I probably won’t be feeling like once we get started – it is exhausting backbreaking work!

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