4-H’ers learn to shear from a pro

ADDISON — The State 4-H Sheep Shearing Clinic, held Nov. 1 in Addison, provided an opportunity for Vermont 4-H club members to gain valuable tips from a professional sheep shearer.
The clinic, sponsored by University of Vermont (UVM) Extension 4-H, was open to any 4-H’er, age 12 or older, who is enrolled in the 4-H sheep project. It was hosted by Neil and Terri Metcalf at their farm in Addison. Participants included Jarod and Raymond Bushey of Addison, Caroline Hobbs of Hinesburg; Rebecca Moriarty of Jericho; Willa Shakeshaft of Putnam Station, N.Y. (member of an Addison County 4-H club) and Siri Swanson of Orwell.
Andy Rice, owner of Hoggett Hill Farm in Halifax, introduced the group to standard practices of shearing including proper maintenance and sanitation of equipment, placement of comb and cutter on the clippers, cutter lubrication, the Australian stroke shearing pattern and conditioning. He also discussed body awareness and safety when working with sheep as well as demonstrated how to shear different breeds and sexes.
Under Rice’s guidance, the 4-H’ers learned how to safely position a sheep for shearing (known as seating a sheep). They also practiced shearing using electric clippers.
To learn more about the Vermont 4-H sheep program, contact Wendy Sorrell, UVM Extension 4-H livestock educator, at [email protected].

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