Friday, January 21, 2022

Why Are Sheep Shorn in Frosty Weather?

Why are sheep shorn in the late fall, as the weather is getting frosty? Don't they need their warm coats?

(Link to YouTube) The farm manager explained that the fleece grows back in time for them to deal with the really cold winter weather, and lambs of shorn ewes actually survive at higher rates compared with unshorn ewes. The fall fleeces are the best quality, better than the spring fleeces, which mainly get used for felt.

The Icelandic sheep are super hardy anyway, and they love the cold weather. 


Elena Jardiniz said...

Icelandic sheep are also a very old breed, unusual because they also have a dual coat with a long, coarse, hair textured outer coat and shorter, fine, wooly undercoat.

You may know that the Norse used wool for their sails - that outer coat would be ideal for the purpose as it will make a strong, hard fabric that will withstand wind well - and would be more wind proof and far less saggy than linen.

The under coat spins up thin and fine, and the multi-colored, stranded knitting popular in the North provides more warmth and wind resistance than a single color knitted garment.

Warren JB said...

I posted this in a comment on instagram, but maybe blogger is more link-friendly? Sheep with a 4" thick fleece are potentially insulated against temperatures down to -120°C/-184°F, before their basic metabolic rate isn't enough to maintain their body temperature. A much higher tolerance than other domestic livestock.

Great video and art as always. I have a fondness for jacob sheep myself.