sheep shearing cost

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by brierpatch1974, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. brierpatch1974

    brierpatch1974 Well-Known Member

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    I am not a sheep farmer but was cutious about some things and was kind of shocked at what I found. It seems having someone shear you sheep is more expensive than its worth. From prices I have seen them charge and the current price of wool it seems 50 to 75 percent of your wool profit would go to pay the person shearing.

    No wonder so many people are going to hairless sheep and going the meat route instead of wool. I didn't know just how worthless the wool market is these days. If i had a wool sheep breed I think I would just shear them best I could and trash the wool and sell the lambs for meat. Its a crazy market these days.
     
  2. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Brier, you can blame a lot of that on our throw away world. When I was a kid I wore nothing but hand knitted cardigans and jerseys as did every other child. Now I, and the modern child, wear sweat shirts. When did you last buy a woollen coat, jacket, dress, skirt or trousers. Are your winter socks wool or synthetic - at best they will be a mixture. Is your carpet wool or synthetic. Synthetic fabrics are cheap to produce, cheap to buy and easy-care. At the moment the only wool worth anything is Merino.

    Add to that the cost of the shearer - and the smaller the flock, the more expensive it is. He has to buy and maintain his gear, his vehicle to get to the farm, fuel to get there, and time. I know what your saying but you also have to look at the other side of the picture.

    In NZ, small farmers are going to things like Wiltshires and Dorpers because of that but the commercial farmers are tending to stick with Romney and Perendale, largely I suspect because of the problems that come with Wiltshires and Dorpers - lambing problems, high multiple births, feet.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     

  3. houndlover

    houndlover Well-Known Member

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    It costs me about $7 per sheep to have them sheared. To ME, the cost is worth it, as I have sheared big old nasty suffolks before. I'd pay more. The wool isn't worthless either. There is a new local start up that is using sheep's wool as insulation. Hairless sheep are fine, I have a few dorpers now, but my suffolk crosses are significantly larger (by 50 lbs) at six months and bring more at auction. My meat breeds don't grow an excessive amount of wool and I don't have to walk around the paddock picking up the wool shed mess, especially picking it out of the wire fencing where they rub. Either breed type, you have to dispose of the wool, either from shearing or shedding.
     
  4. brierpatch1974

    brierpatch1974 Well-Known Member

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    Ronny you are right about a throw away society we live in. I dont mean to sound like I am being down on the shearers. I know they have to cover their cost and time. I was mainly referring to a lack of a market these days. Like you said, everything is senthetic and cheaper. And yes my winter time socks are wool :)

    Houndlover, You have a good point about disposing fo wool either way and sheep that dont shed sure would be cleaner compared to the ones that shed all over the place. All the wool is in one place compared to all over the place liked the shedders.

    How do people dispose of wool that they are not going to sell? Obviously the sheep need to be sheared no matter what so what is done with the wool? Land fills? burn it? How is it disposed of?

    I really like sheep < especially lamb chops > but have no experience with them at all. I thoght about getting some but decided I just dont know enough about them to try it at this time. I would be doing the sheep and myself a disservice until I learn more.
     
  5. Fowler

    Fowler Poo Fairy Supporter

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    You can compost it or clean it yourself, spin it yourself, sell it yourself or give it to the shearer for a reduced price
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
  6. Callieslamb

    Callieslamb Well-Known Member

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    I just bought some lincoln wool that has been processed into rovings. I also bought BFL. I paid $60 for the two pieces. I'd love to find some in fleece form that I could clean up myself. There is a market for SOME wools. Unfortunately, they are not from the best-growing sheep.
     
  7. PNP Katahdins

    PNP Katahdins sheep & antenna farming Supporter

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    They are hair sheep, not hairless. Katahdin, Dorper and White Dorper, blackbelly varieties, St. Croix, and so on, take your pick. They grow a heavy, kempy (not wool) coat in the winter and shed in the spring and summer like a dog or horse does. They are mainly raised for meat, stockdog training, and pasture control around here.

    I never clean up after mine when they shed and we have over 50 Kats. We are cutting back on the wool sheep and adding more Kats every year.

    Our shearer reluctantly takes our wool and gives us a slight break on the shearing price. I can't wait until we don't have to mess with shearing again.

    Peg
     
  8. brierpatch1974

    brierpatch1974 Well-Known Member

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    I know there are different types of wool but was wondering something. Could any wool be donated to places to make blankets and given to places like the red cross etc. ? How much wool would it take to even make a blanket that size?

    I guess I am asking about the wool types from meat sheep such as suffolks and other types.
     
  9. kit

    kit Well-Known Member

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    We raise 130 head of breeding pure Katahdin ewes and only assited one ewe with her birthing this year, all others were born on their own - No lambing problems and we never have to drench a newborn they just get up and go!

    We have mutliple births with mature ewes averaging 2.25 live lambs and we don't assist them with raising them. Yes one of the triplets will be a little slower growing, but more muliples = more money!

    As for feet well we have no trouble there and have never in 13 years seen a case of foot rot or scald and our soil conditions can range from horribly wet to horribly dry.

    Also should note that our feeder market lambs will average 90 - 95lbs by the time they are 3.5months old. Spoke with a traditional sheep producers at the sale barn a couple months ago and we did some calculations. By the time he pays to shear his wool ewes my market lambs are worth more dollar wise than his. (He got a few cents higher than I did for lambs at the auction barn but minus the shearing costs.)

    Anyway, just thought I would add my 2 cents worth on the above statement...
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  10. RiverPines

    RiverPines Well-Known Member

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    DIY. Problem solved. Why is it that so few DIY?
    I shear my own sheep and I'm physically disabled. I sit on my butt while I shear and a helper, family member, holds the animal.
    Sure there is a learning curve and the purchase of shearers.
    Practice, experiment for what works for you, and you dont have to worry about paying someone else.

    I spin my own wool too.

    I prefer dual sheep, meat and fiber. Best of both worlds.
     
  11. Nicole Irene

    Nicole Irene Well-Known Member

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    I think we paid about $10/head for shearing our sheep. We only had 3 to shear, so not a biggie. :) For us, it is cheaper to pay someone over the next 10 years to shear our sheep than to buy $300 sheep shearers.

    We do shave our own dog, though. The dog shavers are much cheaper and our Cocker needs it every couple of months, not once a year.

    The wool went to my MIL and started her on a new hobby.
     
  12. houndlover

    houndlover Well-Known Member

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    If you are raising sheep in quantity - and seriously, if they are to pay for themselves, you have to have a lot of sheep - then DIY isn't cost effective if it takes you all day to shear one sheep because you don't have a shearing machine. Yeah, I have a set of oster shearmasters, but it still takes me at least an hour to do a sheep because I simply can't wrestle it around the way my shearer can. Add two people to my scenario and now two people have wasted an hour shearing a sheep. A good shearer can do it in 5-10 minutes a sheep, so even if you're paying $20 a sheep, it's money saved (if your time and back are worth anything).
     
  13. J.T.M.

    J.T.M. Well-Known Member

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    I hear ,its slave labor to shear .Its hot even in - 20 degree weather .Uggggggggg .....Im so behind on chores i still havnt sheared mine yet and Im lambing soon.By the time Im done with all my double and triple cuts my wool is useless .I sware my neighbores drive by just to laugh at the sheep with wool patches here and there .Somtimes my sheep look like a 12 yearold boy got ahold of dads razor.:eek:
     
  14. sheepish

    sheepish Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We don't raise sheep with particularly good wool. Our shearing cost is about $5 per sheep. The return from wool is about $1.25 for a net cost of $3.75.

    We regard this as a part of the health cost of keeping our flock. Just as vaccinating or worming don't have to have a specific dollar return, neither does shearing.

    Our choice of breed has to do with optimizing the return on our small acreage. The breed we have chosen gives us a better net return, even with the shearing, than others we might have selected.
     
  15. airotciv

    airotciv Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I can understand, at 60 years old, I'm to old to shear them anymore and the cost of feed, shearing, and now wool is worthless. They may be all going in the way of the butcher. Not sure I will get any more sheep.
     
  16. Fowler

    Fowler Poo Fairy Supporter

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    I have the money to pay a shearer to do it, so why not? :shrug:
    Besides it's quick, easy and less stress on the sheep.
    PS. I do have my own shears, but I am not a professional
     
  17. kit

    kit Well-Known Member

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    Oh also thought I would mention this just as a FYI. We had a fellow from Scottland tour our farm looking for Katahdin rams (I'm in Canada). He and his father run 5000 head of sheep and are working on phasing out wool animals. He explained how much time it takes them to sheer the animals and they do it themselves and I suspect with 5000 head they are darn good at it... But when they factor in their time with the price of wool - they have done the math and are working on a building a flock of "Easy Cares" and using imported Katahdin rams on them.
     
  18. PNP Katahdins

    PNP Katahdins sheep & antenna farming Supporter

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    Good luck with the Scottish exports, Kit. We're phasing out our wool sheep and keeping more Kats too. I hope we only have one more shearing day, next March. Our shearer has been cutting back and this will help him too.

    There are some ewes I will miss big time so it's kind of sad for us. Both wool rams were sold for good prices to local breeders and that was a pleasant surprise. So all we have now is Kat rams.

    Peg
     
  19. kit

    kit Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately I won't be exporting to him - he wanted a few of our rams but the red tape is horrendous to get them out of Canada and into Scotland. It takes 2 years worth of testing to become certified and I just couldn't justify the expenses because every breeding ewe and every ram over six months of age would be subject to the tests... I know he did manage to get six rams though - would think he should be having lambs soon. Two of his rams came from a lady with a small acreage flock so not so many animals to do the testing on. The others came from a lady that is a Vet and has her own clinic so she was able to do the testing on her own small flock easily as well.

    But, none the less - Katahdins in Scotland!!!!
     
  20. barnlooms

    barnlooms Well-Known Member

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    For people who breed large numbers of sheep for meat, wool is almost a waste product.

    I'm in Central NY and there is an annual wool pool for disposal of those fleeces, but the money paid per pound is next to nothing and they usually don't take colored wool.

    If you have good quality wool and a good shearer you can sell to hand spinners, but I find that I have no patience to provide the quality hand spinners want.

    I shear my own flock and send the wool to the mill for processing where things like second cuts and coarseness don't matter.

    The coarser fiber I use in rug weaving, the nicer wool for blankets.

    I have a small weaving mill that uses the customers fiber but I use my own fiber for the things I weave for retail sales.

    I personally would be willing to purchase local wool for about double the price per pound the wool pool pays. Taking into account I'll lose 50% of the weight when the fleece is skirted and processed.

    Wool pool prices take into consideration dirty, veggie matter, manure tags, unskirted fleeces when they decide on a price per pound because people usually don't skirt the fleeces before sending them there.

    I can only afford to pay for usable wool, so I'm not going to pay alot if I will lose half of the fleece weight in the skirting.

    Another perspective on wool/fiber/ value.

    Kathryn
    Old School Hand Wovens Weaving Mill
    Registered Finnsheep
    Central NY