Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A sheep shearer is a worker who uses blade or machine shears to remove the wool from sheep.
Blade shears consist of two blades arranged similarly to scissors except that the hinge is at the end furtherest from the point (not in the middle). The cutting edges pass each other as the shearer squeezes them together and shear the wool close to the animal's skin. A drawing of these shears is part of the logo on this page: http://www.goldenshears.co.nz/
Machine shears operate similarly to human hair-clippers in that a power-driven toothed blade is driven over the surface of a comb-blade and the wool is cut from the animal.
In most countries with large sheep populations the shearer is one of a team or contractors that go from place to place shearing sheep and preparing the wool for marketing. The shearer collects the sheep from a holding pen, arranges it on the cutting floor and starts the shearing hand-piece. The wool is removed by following an efficient set of movements, devised by Godfrey Bowen (the Bowen Technique, http://www.nzedge.com/heroes/bowen.html). The shorn sheep is released to another pen from the floor.
Blade shears leave a lot of wool on a sheep and are suitable for cold climates where the sheep needs to keep some protection from the elements, and for those areas where no machinery is available. Herds of 4000 or more can only be shorn by large teams working 9-hour days with machines where the "gun" shearers each shear more than 200 sheep per day.
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