Autumn is shearing time at Markdale so we thought it was the perfect time to share some fun facts.
- Domesticated sheep have been shorn for their wool for millennia.
- Early on, wool was a vital resource to support human life. To protect this resource, shepherds tended flocks of sheep with care and respect for the animals like we still do today on Markdale. In exchange for their wool we ensure the sheep have access to food and water, and protected from disease and predation.
- Most sheep grow wool continuously and they should be shorn annually.
- The shearing process is not painful to the sheep. The shearers are highly skilled and work to protect the sheep, the wool and their backs!
- It takes on average 2 minutes for a professional shearer to shear a sheep.
- West Australian shearer Lou Brown set a new world record last year by shearing 497 merino ewes in eight hours — just over a sheep a minute.
- Wool removed from a single sheep is called a fleece.
- On average a sheep’s fleece weighs between 5 – 8kg.
- A wool classer works beside the shearers to class each fleece – things taken into consideration include colour, strength, diameter and spinning capacity.
- The fleeces are bundled by class into bales and each bale weights between 110 – 200kg.
- Our fleeces are sold at auction.
- Following sale fleeces are washed and the wool grease (lanolin) is extracted and used in lotions. Clean wool fibres are made into clothing or blankets. The lanolin is used in hand lotions.