February 5, 1999 | By: Mark Eclov

Separating a sheep from it's winter fleece can be honed to a fine art. If nothing else, knowing how to properly hold and shear a 150-pound ball of squirming wool and muscle will make life a lot easier for both the human and the animal, and doing it yourself may cut your production costs!

Novice and experienced sheep producers will have an opportunity to learn sheep shearing's finer points from a professional on April 5 and 6, 1999 at the University of Kentucky's Coldstream Farm.

"This year's school features Charlie Swain from the Stewart/Oster Company," said Monty Chappel, Extension Sheep Production and 4-H Livestock Specialist in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.

Chappel noted that when Mr. Swain is not managing his own farm in Iowa, he may be found teaching his skill at schools across the United States. He coaches the US sheep shearing team and was the technical advisor for the movie "Thornbirds."

The school features a two-day school for beginners and a one-day fine tuning session for more experienced shearers. The schedule for both days runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

A registration fee of $15 covers the cost of meals and materials. Enrollment is limited and preregistration is required. Enrollment information is available by writing to the Shearing School, 911 W.P. Garrigus building, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky,40546-0215.

"Most of the sheep raised in Kentucky are crossbred animals that are grown for their meat," said Don Ely, Sheep Nutrition Specialist in the UK College of Agriculture.

"This type of animal produces a coarse wool and it usually brings a modest price. But if you learn how to efficiently shear your own flock, you can use that extra income to help cover such items as feed, and that could increase you profit potential at sale time," said Ely.

Information on all phases of sheep production is provided by the UK College of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service and can be obtained through your local county agent for agriculture, or by calling 606-257-7508.


Writer:Mark Eclov

Source: Monty Chappell