- March 08, 2022
Every year the natural shedding starts to occur on the mountain sheep. There is a separation of old wool and new growth, this process is visible at the neckline where the new growth starts to appear by pushing back the old wool and the shedding process starts. The shearing event takes place once a year and we usually undertake this task in July. It is important to shear off the old wool coat for the well-being of the sheep. Shearing in July allows the animal’s wool coat to grow back in time for the winter season.
Shearing of our Blackface Mountain Sheep involves gathering the flock from the mountain areas in mid-July we have over 5,000 acres to cover, and bringing them back in to have their woolly coats removed.
The process of gathering the ewes from the mountain can take up to 7 days even with the help of our trusty team of working sheepdogs.
Unfortunately, at the time of writing, despite the eco-friendly nature of the fleeces, in that they are completely biodegradable, there is no market for them in Ireland. This is due to the high costs involved in scouring the fleeces and carding the final wool product. In the past, our shearing contractors have collected our woolstock and stored it at their warehouse in the hope the market will return.
After shearing, we re-mark our sheep with the coloured raddle (thick pasty paint). This identifies our sheep to our flock, and it is a great method of sheep identification in the mountains. In addition to this identification mark we have also invested in tracking devices; these computerised tags allow us to track the movements of the flock where they are providing us with very useful information about their movements and grazing areas.