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Wool Over Your Eyes

Grace Heritage Ranch

As mentioned in our last article, woolly sheep need to be sheared regularly. If they are not, their wool will continue to grow. Some breeds will have their wool grow longer than others, which would become problematic for the sheep. They could overheat (depending on the climate), lose mobility, and even become essentially blind if the wool grows over their face and impedes their vision.

Did you ever hear about Shrek the sheep? He was of the breed of sheep that are called Merino and he lived in New Zealand (the sheep shearing capitol of the world). He hated being shorn, so he disappeared one day and ran off into the caves around his home. For six years he survived there until someone finally found him. His wool, which normally would have weighed about 10 pounds, weighed over 60 and was enough to make 20 men’s suits!

A Jacob sheep’s fleece typically weighs from three to six pounds and has less lanolin as compared to other breeds. Lanolin is the grease produced by the sheep’s skin to keep their wool soft and water-resistant. It also keeps your hands nice and silky smooth as you’re working with the wool. Because of this characteristic, lanolin can also be found in many beauty products such as lotions and lip balms.

There will still be much to learn about the whole process of going from wool to finished product. After shearing, the wool needs to be “skirted” and washed. Skirting involves removing any vegetation or other things that could have become entangled in the wool, plus throwing away any places where it is stained, cut short, or heavily matted. It also needs to be washed to remove excess lanolin and debris. This whole aspect will be another learning experience for us, one in which we intend to be educated in so as not to have the wool pulled over our eyes.

To learn even more and get hands-on experience, join us at Grace Heritage Ranch for our Saturday morning tours. We are located just 30 minutes northeast of Harlingen, TX near Santa Monica. Please visit us at www.GraceHeritageRanch.com or www.Facebook.com/VisitGHR . For a recorded message, please call 1-855-447-8687. We offer both public and private tours.

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