Sheep Shearing In Sussex

A sheep is sheared during a shearing demonstration in Sussex. 

Out on the board the old shearer stands, Graspin’ his shears in his thin bony hands, His bleary eyes are fixed on a blue-bellied ewe, Sayin’, “If I get you, gal, I’ll make the ringer go.”

Click go the shears, boys, click, click, click. Wild is his blow and his hands are movin’ quick, And the ringer looks around and he’s beaten by a blow. And he curses that old snagger with the blue-bellied ewe.
— - Click Go the Shears

The lyrics from this traditional Australian folk song called "Click go the Shears" (Find out about the song here) reminds me of the time I photographed sheep shearing in Sussex. I watched the shearer almost dance with the sheep, as he pulled and lifted the animal around, never hurting it. Firm but gentle would be the best explanation.  Like any child who goes to the barbers for the first time, these sheep also didn't appreciate having their haircut. However, for all the protesting and bleating, the sheep quickly succumb and become docile enough for the artful shearer to position 'the great beast' into a safe shearing position. The shearer pulls and holds the sheep in yoga-like positions allowing the animal's skin to pull tight and thus avoiding any cuts. It may look uncomfortable, but it is a necessary process for the welfare of the animal and reminded me of a recent trip to the physiotherapist!

So as the clippers clicked and the sheep were released from their fleeces, the true art of a professional shearer showed through as yet another sheep took its place and the shearer continued the back-breaking work.

Till next time keep safe, those lenses sparkling and an eye out on the world around you. Scott the photographer.

Beautiful prints of these photographs can be purchased via my photography print store.

The shearer holds the sheep's head for safety and to control the animal whilst it is sheared. 

The shearer holds down the sheep enabling him to cut the fleece away from the sheep's legs. 

With one hand the shearer holds the clippers steady as he cuts the soft fleece away for the back of the sheep. With his other hand the shearer holds the sheep still and pulls it's skin tight to avoid any cuts.

The fleeces are piled up ready to be collected.

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