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Colin MacGregor shares advice on preparing for the sheep shearing season

Sheep Shearing Time

Sheep Shearing Time

Shearing is necessary for the health and happiness of your sheep, and even though it’s a dirty, sweaty, tiring job it is also extremely rewarding.

This year, we have some guidance from an industry expert, Colin MacGregor (Shearing Manager at British Wool Marketing Board) to guide us through the essentials for setting up and preparing for this year’s forthcoming shearing season.

Preparation of the shearing area

Pens / trailers:

Choose the best site to set up portable pens or trailers. Sheep run better uphill and towards daylight, so pen up sheep to be shorn, so that they run towards daylight making it less stressful on the sheep and the shearer when filling the catching pen.

Sheep that are going to be shorn should be well rested and their wool dry.

Preparation of machinery


Check the shearing machine is secure to its mounting bracket. The machine is suspended so that the “dropper” sits 10mm clear of the floor to allow reach for shearing all areas of the sheep.

Ideally, the power supply should be as near to the shearing pen/trailer as possible. Long extension leads will result in voltage drop.

Choice of combs:

Blades, combs and cutters for shearing must be sharp. Grinding and gear maintenance is very important and ideally should be conducted during the winter months.

It is important that you know which comb you should use and why, and that you buy a comb that is suitable for your needs.

The finer and denser the wool is, the longer the required bevel. The lower bevel combs (3.5/5mm) are used for open wool sheep and are therefore the most commonly used bevel in the British Isles.

Longer bevelled combs (7mm) are used on fine, dense wool such as the Merino.

For the farmer, I would look to recommend the Lister Countryman comb for general shearing, tidying and ‘dagging’ (also available as the “Shepherds Pack” complete with 2x Claw cutters).

For those of you looking to progress to the next level I would recommend the Lister Cavalier which is a flared wide comb (also available as the “Shepherds Pack Pro” complete with 2 x Claw cutters).

Good Luck and Happy Shearing.


Source Details

Mole Valley Farmers

Colin MacGregor

Article written in conjunction with the British Wool Marketing Board and
Lister Shearing Equipment Ltd

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