Quaker Farm Home
Contact & Visitor Info
Free Range Eggs
Wool & Fiber
Grass fed Lamb & Mutton
Border Leicester & Cotswold
Recipes & more!
Sustainable Living Workshops
Quaker Hill Farm
A Sheep Gets a Haircut
A story for children written by Quaker Anne
This might be a good resource for young home schoolers - pass it on!
The sheep we raise are a breed called Border Leicester. Border Leicester sheep come in two
colors, black and white. Border Leicester Sheep are very gentle and like being around people.
Female sheep are called Ewes and male sheep are called Rams. Instead of hair, sheep have wool.
Perhaps you have heard the Mother Goose nursery rhyme entitled Baa, Baa Black Sheep:
Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full!
One for the master, one for the dame,
And one for the little boy who lives down the lane.
Sheep wool grows and grows so sheep must have their hair cut once or twice a year. When a sheep gets a hair cut, it is called shearing. Sheep don't really have hair, theirs is called wool. At Quaker Farm, we shear our sheep in the Spring and Autumn. A person who shears sheep is called a Sheep Shearer. When a sheep has all of its wool sheared off he or she has been shorn.
Quaker Bill has decided it is time to shear Samuel Ram. As you can see, Samuel Ram is a black sheep with a long wool coat that needs to be sheared off. It is Autumn and if Samuel Ram is sheared now, there will be plenty of time for his coat to grow back long enough for protection against winter cold.
We got Samuel Ram ready for his shearing and brought him out of the pasture and into the barnyard.
Sheep are sheared on top of a tarp. This helps to keep their wool as clean as possible so later it can be spun into yarn to make hats, socks and mittens. The hat that Quaker Bill is wearing was hand spun and knitted from the wool of one of our other black sheep. Click here to see what a spinning wheel looks like.
To begin, Quaker Bill leans Samuel Ram backwards against his legs to hold him still.
Shearing begins at the neck and proceeds downward towards the rest of the body as carefully as possible.
Here is a saying that we try to say for fun 3 times fast - you try it! "Every Shearer shears sheep safely".
When Samuel Ram stands up for a moment, you can see a big difference between where he has been shorn and where he has not been shorn.
Why do sheep have wool? Well, not all sheep do have wool but wool or not, sheep are sheep, and God loves them all equally even when they are different from one another.
Samuel Ram is returned to the shearing position and more of his wool is shorn off.
Wool sheep such as ours have special protection from their wool coats. Wool acts as an insulator, especially in the winter. Wool is much warmer to a sheep then our coats are for us in winter cold. Wool also absorbes almost 40% of its weight in moisture before it actually feels wet. So, it makes excellent socks that keep feet warmer than cotton socks do. That is why sailors of old loved their sweaters knitted "in the grease" from raw wool that had not been overly washed before it was spun and knitted into a sweater. The extra lanolin provided even more protection from moisture. See how well God takes care of us? He created so many good things for us to share, wool from sheep, eggs from chickens, honey from bees, milk from goats and cows, beautiful flowers to look at and smell, and colorful sunsets to thrill us. Can you think of some of the many, many more ways God provides for mankind?
Wow, look at the difference now! Samuel Ram is beginning to look neat and trim. Do you notice how different the color of the wool is? The outside wool locks are almost a copper brown color, while the wool against Samuel Ram's body looks dark and black. The difference in color happens because the outside wool is in the sun all day. Sunshine fades the dark color into a lighter color. This is called being sun bleached.
Just a little more to do and the shearing will be finished.
Samuel Ram felt very good having been shorn. He was nice and clean and shiny and that made him have a happy day!
Would you like to hear what Thomas Edison sounded like when he made a recording of "Mary Had a Little Lamb"
in 1877 on his original phonograph? Click here to hear a historical recording. If you are on a dial up connection, please be patient as it will take a few minutes to download. You may want to turn the sound off on this page to hear the historical recording by itself. Just lift click the stop button, usually a red X, on the upper left of your screen near your back button.
New Words You Have Learned
Return to Quaker Anne's Children's Stories
Return to Quaker Hill Farm Homepage
We invite you enjoy our Internet site and we hope you will visit again.
"The Lord bless thee and keep thee...."
- Numbers 6:24