How To Shear A Sheep With Hand Shears (with video)

A lot of people think shearing a sheep is a difficult thing to do, but with the proper tutorial and some help you can really do it yourself. If you learn how to do it properly, and with some practice, you might end up becoming a professional. Shearing your sheep is the best way to keep your sheep healthy and groomed.

There are many different tools available for shearing sheep, but it is important to look for the right ones that are effective when you use them. If you like to shear the traditional wat, or you do not have access to electricity, using a hand shear can be the solution for you.

To shear your sheep with a hand shear follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Get The Equipment Ready
  • Step 2: Prepare The Area
  • Step 3: Get Your Sheep In A Comfortable Position
  • Step 4: Start Shearing The Belly
  • Step 5: Move To The Legs And The Crotch
  • Step 6: Move To The Neck, Chest, And Chin
  • Step 7: Get To The Left And Right Shoulder
  • Step 8: Remove The Dirty From The Fleece
How To Shear A Sheep With Hand Shears (with video) 1
By LucyinCC BY-SA 3.0

Shearing a sheep is not very technical as long as you master the procedure. When you cut your sheep’s coat you avoid pests, infection, and heat. In this article, we will discuss step by step procedures on how to go about it so that the next time you do not struggle in any way.

How Do You Shear Your Sheep?

● Step 1: Get The Equipment Ready

Having the right equipment before you start shearing your sheep is very important. It does not matter if you have any experience or not. All you need is a quality hand shear that will make the process safe for you and your sheep. Ensure that the shears are sharp before you start working. This is because dull equipment is harmful to your sheep. Besides, dull shears are really difficult to use.

● Step 2: Prepare The Area

Ensure that the area where you intend to shear your sheep looks clean. It should be a confined area where you can easily control your sheep. Ensure that there is no water in the area. You do not want your wool to get wet. It is an ideal way to see to it that the wool does not get dirty.

● Step 3: Get Your Sheep In A Comfortable Position

You should calmly take your sheep from its pen and walk it to the shearing area. It is important to put your sheep in a position that makes it easy to get the wool and make the shearing process easy. The belly should be exposed and support the shoulders between your knees before you start shaving. Ensure that the animal is comfortable as it makes it easier for the sheep not to struggle.

● Step 4: Start Shearing The Belly

Starting with the belly is the best course of action. Most of the wool is dirty and might be of less value. In case you are right-handed, use your right hand to shear and the left one to tighten its skin, vice versa if you are left-handed. It is the perfect way to remove the belly wool intact. Ensure your shearing strokes are long and confident so that you can get all the fleece in one piece. 

● Step 5: Move To The Legs And The Crotch

Once you are done with the belly, the next place should be the hind legs and the crotch. The best way to shear these areas is to hold the sheep between your knees and bring your hand shears up to the right leg. Move it across and remove the wool in the crotch area. These blows might need to be done more than once to remove the wool. However, when shaving this area, you are advised to keep the sheep’s teats covered with your less dominant hand. This way you prevent yourself from shaving them off accidentally. You need to shear the left leg and move to the tail, then finish with the backbone.

● Step 6: Move To The Neck, Chest, And Chin

You need to move your right foot and make sure it is in the sheep’s legs, and hold its body firmly in between your knees. Your left arm should grab the sheep below its chin, and stretch it backward. Bring the hand shears and shave towards the neck but stop below its chin. You have to be careful in this area to ensure that you do not hurt your sheep. 

● Step 7: Get To The Left And Right Shoulder

The shoulders are the trickiest parts to shave. Ensure you are in the right position. You need to balance your weight on the sheep so that you can cut it without a struggle. Again, since this area is wrinkled, use your hands to tighten the skin. It is the best way to get smooth blows and avoid cutting the sheep’s skin. Start with thickness and move to its left shoulder. The last place you would have to shear would be its right shoulder. Repeat the same procedure you did for the left shoulder. It will only take a few seconds with the right blow, and you will be done in a short time.

● Step 8: Remove The Dirty From The Fleece

If your goal is to sell the wool, make sure it is marketable. That is why you should skirt it. Skirting means removing the dirty wool that you cannot sell if it has color or is matted. Once that is done, you should dry it with the flesh on the outside so that it is ready for the market.

Things to consider buying a hand shear

● Size 

Ensure that the shears are big enough when buying so that they are easy to carry around. If the tool is too heavy, it becomes impossible to shear your sheep comfortably. The best hand shearing equipment should be light so that you can move from one side to the next without struggling.

● Affordability

Ensure that you do not spend a lot of money to buy sheep shears because there are too many brands that offer great deals. In most cases, you will come across shears, which are exorbitantly priced. Carefully look for extra features such as how easy it is to shave the sheep. Also check for if it is made of stainless blades, then decide if the prices are worth it. Compare the price offered by different firms before deciding on which one to invest in, consider your budget before spending a lot of money.

● How Easy Is It To Adjust The Blades?

You need to ensure that the blades can be adjusted to reduce blade tension. If the blades are too tight, shearing your sheep becomes difficult. However, tight blades are the best for the heavy wool. Ensure that you can loosen the blades if the need arises.  

Here Is A Brand You Should Check Out if You’re Interested In Hand Shears 

Ensure you search for the ideal hand, shears make your work easy, but you should work with the right brand. One of the best brands is:

● Zenport Zl122g Sheep Shear

These shears are made from carbon steel, which makes it a perfect deal for heavy-duty shaving. There are designed with long blades that give your sheep a nice finish. It has an ergonomic handle that makes it comfortable to hold. This shear also comes with locking pins, which makes it easy to keep them safe.

How To Shear A Sheep With Hand Shears (with video) 2

– Advantages

  • The shear is affordable.
  • It is easy to use
  • You do not require electricity to operate it.

– Disadvantage

  • The shears do not open too wide, which makes it hard to shear your sheep well.

FAQs on Shaving Your Sheep With Hand Shears

● How Long Does It Take To Shear Your Sheep By Hand?

It all depends on if the sheep are cooperative or not. Make sure that you are comfortable holding the shears as it will take you around thirty minutes to one hour. Note that your experience shearing sheep determines the amount of time that it will take you.

● When Should You Shear A Sheep?

Some months are better for you to shear your sheep than others. It is best to shave the sheep when you need to get rid of their one-year wool. It is also the best way to give your sheep enough time to grow a new coat before the winter.

● How Many Times Should You Shear Your Sheep?

If you are dealing with an adult sheep, once a year should be enough. However, shaving can occur throughout the year, depending on the climate and the tools needed. You should avoid shearing your sheep in the winter season to ensure that it does not suffer during the cold season.


Shearing your sheep is a necessity and helpful to the welfare of the animal. The fact that sheep cannot shed their wool like other animals means that it traps dust and pests. The ideal way to keep it clean and healthy is by shaving it consistently. Having excess wool makes it hard for sheep to regulate its temperature, Other harmful items like feces and urine can get trapped in the sheep’s wool. If you want to protect it, shearing should be done using the right tools.

That is why hand shears are an essential tool for any sheep owner. It may seem like a hard tool to use, but once you find the right brand, your work becomes easy. A lot of people might feel as if it’s not necessary, especially with the technological advances and many electrical shears being made. However, with hand shears, you can shave your sheep whenever you want.

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