Friday, October 29, 2010

Balancing act

One week to go until shearing now. All our sheep are in full fleece and on the warm sunny days try to rub it off on the nearest solid object. We helped out in the beautiful old stone barn of a friend yesterday when she had the shearer in for a date with her coloured Corriedales. It was a warm sunny day and they were looking forward to casting aside their woolly winter gear. We had a half hour drive to get there and noted all through the hills sheep were yarded ready for shearing. Everyone was trying to get it done while the weather held.
Mid spring here can be warm and sunny bordering on hot but it occasionally has a tantrum and throws a thunderstorm. Rain was due today and down it came. It's beautiful and will fill the tanks again before the summer starts but a sudden cold change can be lethal for unprepared stock. This is what happened last year when a rainstorm came through the week after shearing:

We yarded the sheep out of the wind but they had a group shivering fit for a while anyway. Eventually the sun came out and warmed them up. Sheep have a reputation for being quite tough but the week after shearing is a critical time for them. Until they can grow a light covering of wool again they are actually as naked as we are. Just like we hunch up when cold, they stand like triangles and tuck up their tummies.

They also get very sunburnt without their wool, especially the white ones with pink skin. This is another reason we keep them sheltered for that first week post disrobing. Otherwise we'd use buckets of sunblock lotion.