Producing quality fleeces
Rear the correct sheep
To produce high quality fleeces sheep need to be kept healthy and happy. Any illness or stress will cause a tenderness, a weakness, or even a break in the staple of the wool. Careful choice of sheep is important, particularly the tups (rams). They have most influence on the flock and the fleece quality.
Avoid contaminating the fleece. Sources of contamination are seemingly endless, and include
- raddle marks
- pour ons or dips.
Feeding in low level troughs will help, but it won’t stop tall animals dropping mouthfuls of hay over smaller ones. Use only guaranteed washable markers.
Regularly dag the sheep.
Spinners are not fond of seeds and burrs. Consider housing the sheep over the winter months and possibly winter shear them. Wait at least 3 months before shearing sheep that have received externally applied dips or pour-ons
Rooing your primitive sheep
Some primitive sheep lose their fleece naturally. This is a form of moulting and if you roo (pluck) them at the right time, you can lift the fleece off the sheep. As always, keep the shearing board carpet clean. Skirt out (cut off) any contaminated, belly and breach wool. It is good for the compost heap.