Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Well we got sheared.  Four shearers and two helpers came with a shearing trailer and wool sacker.   We lined up another three helpers to push sheep up.  It was supposed to be cold and rainy, but it was just cool and windy with no rain.  The sheep are dry and ready to be sheared.

We use a zig-zag chute to stop the sheep from backing up once they have started up the chute.  It cuts down on the stress of the sheep and stress on the handlers.  Also it take less help.  Once the sheep start up the chute into the trailer many times you just get out of the way and let them load themselves.

Once the sheep load into the trailer they are sheared.

Here is a big look of the shearing trailer and wool sacker all set up and working.  The face wool is separated from the belly wool and put in different sacks.  Just the best wool is put all together in certain sacks.  So each sack is labeled as to which kind of wool is in the sack.  Different wool has different uses so it needs to be separated and labeled.

In the middle is a wool sack that holds bellies and to the left is the closed door of the wool sacker, with a gas engine mounted on top.  There is a pile of wool in front of the sacker ready to be sacked.

Here are our sacks of wool on the trailer ready to head to Belle Fouche.

Here is a picture inside the wool warehouse in Belle Fouche.  They will take a core sample of our wool bales and send the samples to a wool lab.  Then we know what we have for a product then the manager of the wool warehouse knows which customers may be interested in our quality of wool and will offer the wool for sale.  Maybe some time in June we will get a bid and the wool shipped in July.

Then we went to get our bags of sawdust that we use for bedding.  Where we used to get it no longer did retail.  So we tried two different lumber yards and a feed store and no one had any.  The next day we found a supplier in Rapid City.  We had to take two pallets of bags as a minimum.  So we went to Rapid City and got some sawdust.  Sawdust keeps the barn cleaner and it easier to clean the pens that are bedded with sawdust as opposed to straw.  Plus the sawdust has a natural turpentine substance that helps disinfect where straw can carry molds and bacteria.

The wind blew so hard the day we brought this load home we were afraid it would blow over,  but we made it.  It is not heavy just sticks up in the air about eight feet.


  1. That was really interesting. We raised sheep on the farm I grew up on. We only had about 50 head. The shearers worked in the barn. Dad and big brother brought the sheep to the shearer. Us littler ones gathered up the wool, no sorting, and stuffed it into sacks. We put little brother in the bag to jump up and down to pack it in.

  2. That was the way we done it back then, Wool joined the world market back in the 80's so we had to use these packs because they fit the shipping containers and the contents had to be a certain specification. The industry likes each pack to weigh 475 lbs.