Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Melville Intermediate - Sheep Shearing with Benita

Shearing is fun, smelly and sore.   Its lots of fun because when your in the sheds you get to kick it back with your mates.  I'm lucky because my gang is my family. Its easy because you've got to go outside and pick a horse or a motorbike and go to the top of the hill. You round up all the sheep and take them back down the hill to the shed.
That job is a two person job.  Five of my cousins shear and four of my other cousins rouse and two of my other cousins press the wool.  In my gang it depends who goes to work.  All my cousins change what they are doing and switch between rousing, shearing and pressing.  You have to work for nine hours, you wake up at 6:00am in the morning and start work at 7:30am.  You finish working sometime between 6:30pm and 8:00pm.  When we get back home we have a shower then have dinner, after that we kick back and watch movies.   To shear a sheep successfully you need to: 1.  Turn on the machine.  2. Put a shearing cone on the hand piece.  3. Walk into the pens and select a sheep.  4. You hold the sheep inbetween your legs with one of the sheep's legs on your back. 5. Then you are ready to start shearing.

Benita is a student from Room Eight who each holiday goes to the East Coast, there she works with the rest of her family as part of a shearing gang and works shearing sheep.   This Christmas just been her gang mustered over 7,000 sheep and 300 rams.


  1. Benita, I love this pice of writing, I can really hear the 'voice' of the author in it.

    The vocabulary you have used is so specific, like rousing, it really helps set the scene. I can imagine the smell of the shed, and the noise of the clippers and sheep.

    Thank you, you transported me back to my uncle's farm I use to stay on as a child.

    Keep up this great writing.

  2. Hi Benita,
    This is a great piece of writing, it really does a wonderful job of describing the hard work a shearing gang does. My little school where I teach is in the middle of lots of very big sheep stations so all of the kids at my school know how to help out in the shearing shed. Here is a link to a Youtube movie we made about the little shearing shed down the road from our school -
    I like the smell of the sheep and how soft your hands get from the oils in the sheep's wool, though I am not too keen on how itchy you can get by the end of the day.
    Keep up the great writing.

  3. Hi Benita I really enjoyed reading your post I learn alot about Sheep Shearing. I didn't realise you would work such long days, I guess thats why you get sore! I liked hearing where your farm is because I drove around the East Coast during the holidays in a campervan. It is a beautiful part of our country. Well done for writing an interesting and informative post!
    Ms Matthews

  4. Hi Benita
    You make shearing sound easy, but I think that must be because you are good at the job and know what you are doing!
    The shearing competition is always a popular part of our local A&P show, and sometimes they hold speed shears in a local hotel. That's always very popular too.
    What would you say are the best and worst shearing jobs?

    from Mrs McKenzie

  5. Hi Benita - your post is amazing! I'm in awe - you work long, hard hours! I live in England in a small city so can only imagine what it's like for you there!

  6. Sheep shearing sounds like fun - but very hard work. I wonder, do the sheep enjoy being sheared?

  7. Hey Benita, I always knew I would be useless in a shearing shed and after reading your post I know for sure. Tomorrow I am going to teach my class, they are five, the nursery rhyme Baa Baa Black Sheep and then we will talk about wool and where we get it from. After our discussion I will read your post to them and ask if they would like to be part of a shearing gang. They will probably like the idea of riding on a motorbike. Thanks for sharing your writing with us.

  8. hi do you goo with school uniform in melville?.

  9. Hello Benita,
    I certainly learned a lot about shearing sheep from your blog post. I live and teach school on the east coast of the United States. We do not shear sheep on this coast. I do have one question: what is "rousing"? Thank you for teaching us about shearing sheep!
    Mrs. Selig

  10. Good Morning, Benita!
    Your writing piece on shearing sheep has been so informative! Although many Vermont farmers have sheep, most of my students are unfamiliar with sheering, especially on such a large scale! Thanks for sharing a part of your world!

    Mrs. Buswell
    Grade 5
    Malletts Bay School
    Colchester, Vermont, USA