The time to shear the sheep comes around twice a year. On farms, this task is taken on by real professionals: Often, three to four shearers work in parallel in their own shearing shed. They generally need between three and five minutes to shear a sheep – and it’s all done entirely by hand. In one day, the shearers will manage to separate around 200 sheep from their wool. By and by, the individual sheep are brought to the “shearing spot”, where each shearer works in their own space.
Shearing always takes place at knee height. For this reason, the shearers are supported by a harness around their upper bodies to help prevent back pain. They hold a sheep between their legs and shave the wool from its entire body. Watching them, it becomes apparent how calm and smooth their movements are as they use their instruments. Neither the workers nor the sheep show any signs of stress. Very broad combs are used in the shearing machines so that the sheep is not injured.
Starting from the stomach, over the legs, the throat, and the head, the wool is shorn all the way to the rump.
After a few minutes it’s all over and the sheep can go back to join his shorn friends in the pen.
The shearers are all optimally trained experts, which makes shearing a very gentle process that barely stresses the animal.
After shearing, the wool is laid out on a table for classifying. A state-certified wool expert then determines the quality of the wool: The fiber’s diameter, fineness, length, grade of purity, and tear strength are evaluated and divided into five categories. For this, an international standard stipulates categories A to E. At ORTOVOX only particularly high-quality wool from categories AA or AAA is used.
Once the wool has been classified, it is pressed into large bales weighing up to 200kg and kept in a wool store until the next step: washing the wool.