Sheep don’t necessarily like being sheared, but it’s something that they will appreciate after it has been done. Shearing sheep is beneficial for both the sheep and farmer and fortunately it doesn’t hurt them either.
Sheep shearing is a quick process too, taking just two to three minutes for a professional shearer.
3 Reasons Why Sheep Like Being Sheared
Shearing sheep is in no way cruel. It doesn’t hurt the sheep and sheep come away from the shearing feeling much better for three main reasons.
- Excess wool reduces a sheep’s ability to regulate its body temperature. As overheating can sometimes result in death, shearing sheep is of the utmost importance
- Urine, feces, and other undesirable materials can become trapped in a sheep’s wool. This can attract flies, mites, maggots, and other pests, which can cause irritation and infections
- Sheep with excess wool can become immobilized. This makes them more susceptible to predator attacks, especially as it makes them more likely to get stuck in their environment
When you consider the benefits of shearing and the severe consequences that can result if sheep aren’t sheared, it’s very likely that sheep actually want to be sheared, though they might not necessarily enjoy it.
Why Shearing Doesn’t Hurt Sheep
Think of the last time you went to the hairdresser or the dentist. No doubt you paid to get your hair cut or your teeth taken care of by a professional who has lots of experience. It might not have been the most enthralling, enjoyable experience, especially in the case of the dentist, but you probably left feeling fine with no cuts or other injuries. It’s the same with sheep shearing.
As long as a professional or person who has had lots of experience shearing sheep is the one to perform the shearing, there is very little chance that a sheep will suffer cuts or other injuries and feel pain.
Why Are Sheep Silent When Being Sheared?
You might be wondering why sheep are so quiet when being sheared. Well, for one thing, the silence is a clear indication that sheep shearing isn’t cruel and sheep don’t mind being sheared. If it hurt them, sheep certainly wouldn’t be silent.
Fortunately, in the sheep industry, it is common practice to handle and treat sheep humanely, which means that sheep are kept calm, contained, and are therefore silent when being sheared.
How Do Sheep Survive in the Wild Without Shearing?
Different sheep breeds have different shearing requirements. Some breeds are selectively bred and raised for heavy coats. Others that haven’t been selectively bred don’t grow much wool so don’t require shearing and are able to naturally shed.
Wild sheep, therefore, naturally grow the amount of wool they need to stay warm during winter, and shed it when no longer needed – just like nature intended.