Recently we rooed one of the ram lambs, Dingus. It was a pretty successful experiment, we got a lot of fleece off him. We are going to try rooing the entire flock and shearing whatever doesn’t roo off ourselves instead of doing a professional spring shear. This will avoid the “carpet” look of spring fleeces and also provide more open locks for spinning instead of a more felting-friendly dense wool.
I also snagged a few locks from the other rams while feeding them.
Locks from Scottie, Dingus and Bucky, from left to right. The crumbly bits at the bottoms of the locks are mostly dirt or skin flaking. Both wash right out and are not a processing problem.
Rooed fleece from Dingus. Looser and more open than if we’d sheared, as it’s the natural wool break, so the denser new growth stays on the sheep instead of matting.
More of Dingus’ fleece. It looks a lot more like the fall shearing this way, which is why if an Icelandic shepherd can roo their flock, it’s really a great way to collect the spring wool.
We’re going through some rainy times and not really enough hours of dryness to leave wool outside to dry. So I am going to start the process of washing up the spring wool and drying it all indoors, which I was hoping wouldn’t be my only option starting this early, but them’s the breaks of living in the Maritime Northwest.
Hopefully by next week I can start the combing out and see what I get. I might get some usable roving, which would be some beginner’s luck, but it’s possible since what I’m starting with is actually in great shape for spring wool.
We don’t have a hay problem, we have a “never let your rams roam if you want to spare yourself a lot of VM picking” problem. Which we solved with the power of cattle panels. Ugly but so great at containing rambly rams.
I was hoping to try out advertising raw fleeces, but the shearer sheared in strips and that’s not what people looking for raw fleeces specifically expect. It’s not a big deal, but it’s something to keep in mind as we have more fleece and more animals. Spring fleeces are chancy to sell as it is. The ones we have look ok, but they do have the wool break’s new growth in them, so that will have to be separated out. If the fleeces are all they appear to be, this will happen after a little soaking in plain water. Otherwise I have a lot of felting fleece to experiment with.
So the ewes are sheared, the shearer did very well with them, they are nick and cut free and their fleeces are delightfully free of VM. I was expecting much worse for the spring clips, but they look about ready to go straight to washing and combing out after they air a little.
And little Zuko is going to be a wether soon. He took the procedure quite well, considering.
We’ve been working through colds the last week, and this current one is a bit of a doozy, so that’s all I’ve got right now.
I looked up Icelandic gestation lengths and based on when we got the ram lambs, we could have lambs anytime this month. We are no longer so certain all the girls were bred during the same week or so, so it could be raining lambs week after week all month long.
Also we got a free cat. The cat is currently living in the garage and is well on her way to solving our rat and mice problems. She will (it’s another girl) probably end up out in the barn towards the end of the month.
I have collected a lot of wool and we did some practice combing of a small unwashed lock. I will probably wash some this coming week and see how combing washed wool goes.
This is what happened after some time in the warm, dry house.
Bucky is rooing like crazy, so we might not get to shear him after all, but instead end up with a giant pile of hanks that have to be turned into something higher-value or tossed in the old compost heap.
I’ll probably have more off him throughout the week. It’s not as hay-full as I thought it would be, so there’s that.