A question that's been bugging me

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Kris in MI, Feb 4, 2005.

  1. Kris in MI

    Kris in MI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    First off, let me confess I do not currently own nor have I ever owned any sheep. I've been thinking for awhile about getting some; but I have one "big" problem that keeps me from jumping in. I am allergic to wool and lanolin products. So here's my question for all you experienced sheep people:

    Am I then allergic to sheep?

    I guess what I really wonder is if I can keep sheep and they won't bother me, but to use processed sheep products is out of the question (other than the meat, I already know I can eat the meat with no problems; it's really yummy :D ). I'm wondering if it is something in the processing of the wool and lanolin that I am allergic to, and therefore could raise and utilize my own sheep but just can't handle commercially processed wool and lanolin.

    Does anyone have any expertise on this issue?
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    My mother is allergic to lanolin but can pat a lamb, she is not involved with the flock at all. Hair sheep would seem like an ideal solution for you, but perhaps you need to visit a sheep farm and see if it's somethign (like the acids some wool is subjected to) in the processing rather than the wool or sheep as such.
     

  3. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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    Kris,

    Many of the Commercial mills that handle wool use very harsh chemicals,, and there are a lot of second cuts in the wool. In fact they make me itch.

    You might try buying a bit of raw wool from a sheep breeder that raises their sheep Certified organic,, and see if you still have a reaction to that.

    Some people don't (like me), but if you do still......

    Ross is right,, Hair sheep might be the way for you to go. You can also visit breeders in your area, to see if they are something you want to raise.
     
  4. ajaxlucy

    ajaxlucy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm very new to sheep myself, but wool allergies and I go way back. I had to give away a beautiful sweater from Iceland because it irritated my skin so much. Touching my sheep doesn't seem to bother me, though. They're Shetlands, so there's a lot of wool, too. Granted, I haven't tried to shear them or spin the wool myself; the only contact has been handling them or petting them (one of them loves to have her chest and sides scratched).
     
  5. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    My niece is allergic to wool products, and I can't use lanolin in any of my skin care for DD. However, they are both able to be around the sheep with no problems. DD began showing 4-H sheep last year, there's a whole lotta hugging going on! And I knit a wool scarf for my niece for Christmas which she wears without the usual hive type reaction from commercially processed wool.

    As Ross suggested, visit a farm or two. See if you have a reaction.
     
  6. Kris in MI

    Kris in MI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks!

    I will have to give the farm visits a try; I know that within about 30 miles from me are a couple sheep farms. One raises hair sheep, and I didn't even think about them being 'non-wooly'. :)
     
  7. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    Definitely do try some home processed wool products. The chemicals they use in commercially processing wool are harsh enough to dissolve out any vegetable matter in the wool. You know that's nasty! Lots of people have reactions to it and do fine with raw or home-processed wool. Good luck!
     
  8. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The lanolin in most products, like baby oil, isn't real lanolin from sheep. It's actually a petroleum by product. Real lanolin may not bother you. Besides, how much petting do you think you are going to do? Sheep aren't touchy feely critters. They like a treat and singing, a little stroke under the chin. My ram likes his face rubbed. Besides, you can wear gloves.
     
  9. Kris in MI

    Kris in MI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks again, everyone :)

    Maura, I'm not really thinking of doing alot of snuggling the sheep, lol, but was thinking more in terms of handling the wool and the hides (after butchering). For instance, I tan our deer hides and if I get one hair near my eyes or nose I'm in misery, so I know to take a hefty dose of Benadryl before I even start. But tanning deer hides is something I do once a year if we're lucky! If I would have the same reaction (or worse) to the wool/lanolin I'm not sure if it would be something I'd want to take on frequently.

    I didn't know the lanolin in many products wasn't 'real' lanolin. I did suspect it had been changed from it's original form somehow. Thanks :D