HAVE SHEEP/GOATS PENNED UP BEFORE I ARRIVE
Whatever pen or stall we will be catching the animals out of for shearing. I need them locked up BEFORE I drive up the driveway. Please have them contained in an area no larger then a horse stall (for smaller flocks). The less the animals can run the safer and less stressful the day will be.
SHEEP AND GOATS NEED TO BE DRY
I am using an electrical appliance on them, water and electric are not safe. I have shorn damp sheep before and while it is do-able the wool tends to pill excessively leaving lots of "second cuts" because the wool doesn't cut cleanly. Also it is not recommended to store wet wool and wet wool off the animal is nearly impossible to dry. Don't count on your sheep or goats to go into the barn when it is raining the day/night before. They WILL stand outside and get wet. Please take steps to keep your animals dry for shearing day.
PLEASE SUPPLY EITHER A PIECE OF PLYWOOD OR RUBBER MAT FOR ME TO SHEAR ON
Zoonotic contamination is any disease or bacteria that can be transmitted from animal to animal. I have to shear for an average of 4 stops a day during the spring rush, so while I try to minimize the dirt I bring to your farm by disinfecting, it is impossible to disinfect the plywood I bring with me between stops. If you are really particular about this then please have plywood, carpet or a rubber mat available for me to shear on. Pressed plywood is best as it provides a bit of grip although any piece of plywood that is left outside for a bit is fine. Truck bed liners are great options, as is rubber roofing material. Carpet is also a great shearing surface.
PLEASE DO NOT FEED YOUR ANIMALS FOR AT LEAST 12 HOURS PRIOR TO SHEARING
Sheep and goats tend to eat in cycles. If you observe them during the course of a day you will notice most animals are up around 5:30 and starting to graze or feed on hay. They will eat almost continuously until about 8-9:00 when they will find a spot to lay down and digest their food. They will repeat this around noon and will usually lay down again during the hottest part of the day to digest what they have eaten. They will resume eating again around 3-4:00 and will browse until it starts to get dark, when they will lay back down and digest through the night. Once you notice this pattern in eating you will observe that these animals are designed to gorge and then go to a safe place to digest. If you allow animals to eat in the morning (Which I will remind you they start pretty early in the morning) they will be VERY FULL when I arrive to shear which is typically around the time they are ready to lay down for a mid morning nap. Shearing them in this condition is very uncomfortable for them and increases the stress on the animal unnecessarily. Animals can die if they are overfull and have other conditions present. This is not something to take lightly. Many people feel bad about denying them food for a few hours but short term removal of food only keeps them comfortable during shearing and also empty's them out so they don't defecate in the wool during shearing. Please keep in mind PASTURE IS FOOD, and feeding grain in the morning to get them to come in is also not recommended as they have already been eating grass all morning and adding grain on top of it just worsens the problem. Also be aware that I will impose a fee on anyone that I observe feeding their animals prior to shearing. I do this because I want whats best for the animals and want to minimize stress on them so I can shear them as quickly, cleanly and calmly as possible.
HAVE AN EXTENSION CORD HANDY
I usually need an extension cord. They are a pain to carry around and are very hard to keep clean. Please have one available...preferably one that does not have live wires showing.
OTHER ODDS AND ENDS...
Depending on what is happening with the wool you will need either plastic bags or paper bags to store your wool (paper bags breath which is nice for allowing wool to resperate, some people also use old sheets). Have those at the barn and ready to go. You will also need a broom with an attached handle (Yes I needed to add that!). If we are administering any medications, delousing medication or wormers then have those ready to go as well. I do not carry any medications with me so you will need to procure these items yourself although if you don't know what or where to get them I can always make some recommendations.