In the article 10 Points to Consider When Hiring a Shearer we talk about what qualities you seek in your shearer. This article focuses on you. Many points may seem obvious, but they may also cause you to reflect on what you really want for your once or twice a year shearing experience.
Your animals are:
- for fiber, as a hobby
- for fiber, as a commercial enterprise
- pets and/or rescued/sanctuary animals
- for meat
- for fun/pasture ornaments
- petting zoo animals
- I haven’t figured out why I have them
Your level of experience:
- Brand new, just acquired my animals
- Have had my animals for several years but don’t consider myself completely experienced and welcome guidance
- Have had my animals for ten years or more and I know what I’m doing and what I expect
- Animals have been in the family for generations and we’ve been around the block with shearers
At your farm:
- It’s just me and I cannot help
- It’s just me and I can help
- I can provide several helpers
- I have farm staff who will organize everything
What kind of shearing experience do you want?
- I want to be able to talk with the shearer about specific animals and specific concerns
- I want the shearer to be quiet and shear and get the job done as quickly as possible
- I want the shearer to show up with help
- I do not need the shearer to show up with help
- I want the shearer to come with a team and take care of everything from start to finish
- I want to give a brand new shearer a chance and am willing to be patient
- I want someone who is experienced
- I want to communicate by text
- I want to communicate by phone calls
- I want to communicate by email
- I prefer to use Facebook or some other social media platform
- I want a male shearer
- I want a female shearer
- I want a shearer who speaks Spanish (or another language)
- I don’t care if my shearer is a Martian
Types of shearers:
- The lone wolf
- Traveling in twos
- The team (three or more)
- The full rig + shearing crew
- Blade shearers or machine shearers
Making shearing a stress-free day
Sometimes farmers comment that shearing day is the most stressful day of the year. Being prepared for shearing and trusting your shearer go a long way towards making shearing an enjoyable – even fun – experience. Here are a few tips to help you out:
- Eat breakfast. Seriously – on a big day some people forget to eat and this messes up their sugar and energy levels.
- Get your animals in the barn/paddock the night before so they have time to settle.
- Prepare everything you need for record keeping and bagging fiber. See: Shearing Day
- Be flexible. Your shearer may be early, but more likely your shearer will be late. They run into all kinds of things at farms and on the road. Ask them to communicate with you about their arrival time.
- Hang out with your animals.