Monday, August 15, 2011

FIT and TRIM...

Hmmm - "FIT and TRIM"...   Although it sounds an aweful lot like I am about to blog about my latest health and diet routine, today I want to show you our Natural Colored Merino lambs.  This past weekend we started getting them ready for the Michigan Fiber Festival Sheep Show which Wayne will be taking them to NEXT weekend.  The process of getting a sheep ready for a show is called "fitting", and it involves a whole lot of "trimming", so the title "FIT and TRIM" seemed perfect!

These lambs were born in March and have been living the good life ever since.  Plenty of food and water, and only the occasional stress from deworming, innoculations, and well - that one time we took their moms away and they screamed for a few days...  But they have grown well and are ready for their show debut!

Each breed of sheep is "fitted" differently for show.
  • We started off by shearing the wool off of their bellys with a set of electric sheep shears...  it really "cleans up" their appearance and makes them look taller and longer.  It is the "black is slimming" of the sheep show world. 
  • Next we put them up on the trimming stand and trimmed their feet - all of the good feed they have been eating makes their hooves grow fast so keeping them nicely manicured is a necessity.
  • We then use an electric trimmer to clean up the face.  Some of the baby wool on the face needs to be trimmed to keep a neat appearance.
  • At this point we had to tag their ears with their registration tags and scrapie tags.  This is probably not the most pleasant part of their "day of beauty" but it is necessary.  All registered sheep need to have permanent identification.
  • We then get a carder out (a brush with tiny little teeth) and card the ends of the fleece...  this really helps to pull out a lot of garbage that has gotten stuck in the wool, and picks the fibers apart from each other.
  • Next is the trimming and this can take forever...  we trim, blend, shape, and trim some more until the sheep looks neat, tidy, and well formed.
  • The lambs are not completely finished, but they are well started so that when they get to the show, there is less work to be done and Wayne can focus on all of the finishing touches that will make them stand out in the ring.
  • Finally we put a sheep coat on them to keep them somewhat clean and they are turned back out with their lamb friends to complain to each other about the horrible ordeal they just had to endure...
Magic (ewe lamb) looking all "Fit and Trim"

Louis (twin ram lamb) sporting his new sheep coat..

Sammy (twin ram lamb) demonstrating how to stand on the trimming stand...

1 comment:

  1. love the sheep coats
    could do with a small one for a bald silkie