This was my last resort for keeping the fleeces vegetative matter free. For the past 4 years, I have tried umpteen dozens of different kinds of feeders, all to no avail. It does not help that here, we have to feed hay year round too and the sheep cannt be shorn in the fall when they are the cleanest, because with our winters, they would surely freeze.
This is not the place to have a fibre farm. At least not the sort I imagined with samplers of many different breeds of sheep. Short of putting coats on the sheep, and changing them at least monthly so the wool does not matt underneath, there is not much to be done.
Ramona has the type of wool that will keep debris deep inside it as well and that is a shame, because her wool, the wool from a Romney sheep, is sought after by hand spinner, IF it is clean. None want to sit for hours upon end trying to clean the bits of hay from a fleece. The neck has some of the softest wool, but the necks of my sheep are contaminated and the wool must be discarded for compost. That is a shame.
So, what next? I did not set out to farm sheep for the meat. I am far more interested in the wool, even if I personally do not like to work with it until it is in batts. I don't think I will ever be a spinner or knitter, but I am going to learn to felt this winter. For felting, the wool does not have to be as pristine as for spinning. Maybe it would be salvageable for the felting crowd?
I am very disheartened. Things are not going the way I wished them to. Having to go back to work was not in the cards, yet I am back to work. Not having a sheep farm will now make me rethink the purpose to my farm. I cannot just keep all the animals as pets, though I would like to. They must earn their keep some how. Possibly by changing the breeds, the wool can be used. There is a farmer in Saskatchewan with Corriedale sheep and she does nothing special to feed them, yet because they are all the same size and have tight wool, the wool is useable. Thinking....
What do you think? To sheep or not to sheep? That is the question.