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Skilled Blade Shearing

Shearing the wool from sheep is physically demanding and requires knowledge and skill. This fact is amplified for blade shearing. Throughout the centuries most sheep were shorn by hand using blade shears. By the 1940's electric hand shears and machines had largely replaced the hand blades and the tradition began to fade from memory. Although there are a number of rusty hand blades hanging in barns all across the country, there are very few practicing blade shearers in America today. The tradition is still common in New Zealand, however, where blade shearers continue to innovate and advance the technique.

The advantages of blade shearing --

  • a little more wool cover protects the sheep

  • reduced stress on the sheep

  • increased wool growth

  • doesn't require electricity

  • less equipment, space and set up

  • less risk of injury to the sheep

  • fewer second cuts

  • superior fleece for hand-spinners

  • no minimum number to hire a job

  • preserves a traditional skill and heritage

Blade shearing is a slower process which is an advantage in most cases. Kerry uses blades exclusively and that means he is very practiced, steadily shearing hundreds of sheep every season. He can easily shear a small to medium sized clean animal in just ten to twenty minutes with much less noise, fuss and distress to the sheep.

While blade-shorn sheep initially look a little more ragged, the fleece soon evens out with growth, and the advantages certainly outweigh the aesthetics.

Kerry shears flocks in the central New Mexico region. Please contact us for available dates.

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