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Fun facts about sheep and shearing

May 2018

Our Spring Special programme runs until 3rd June. We’ll have three sheep shearing demonstrations every day with our shepherd Tuck, who’ll be giving our flock a makeover for the warmer weather.  To mark the event, we’ve put together some fun facts about sheep and shearing.

  1. 1. At Willows Activity Farm, we have 110 sheep, including ewes, rams and lambs.
  2. 2. Our breeds include the Suffolk sheep, which have a creamy white fleece and a black face. They’re the world’s most recognisable breeds and look just like Shaun the Sheep.
  3. 3. Sheep have very good memories. Studies have shown they can recognize around 50 individuals, including sheep and people, for around two years after meeting them.
  4. 4. Sheep shearing takes place in Spring, as the weather starts to warm up. This is so they don’t become overheated as the temperatures increase. A long, heavy fleece can also make it difficult for sheep to move around.
  5. 5. According to the Guinness World Records, the fastest sheep shearer in the world is Ivan Scott from Ireland. In 2016, he sheared a sheep in 37.9 seconds during a live broadcast of the RTE’s Big Week On The Farm programme.
  6. 9. The record for shearing the most sheep in nine hours belongs to Matt Smith in Cornwall. In 2016, he sheared 731 ewes in just nine hours.
  7. 7. Ever tried counting sheep to fall asleep? This idea apparently came about because shepherds were so worried about their flock at night. So, to soothe their minds they would count them before nodding off.
  8. 8. The heaviest fleece ever shorn from a sheep took 45 minutes to remove and weighed 6 stone and 4lbs. It belonged to a sheep called Chris in Australia, who had been for lost for several years before being discovered by a hiker. Unlike some other breeds, his wool had not stopped growing.
  9. 9. Sheep have excellent peripheral vision. Their pupils are so large, they can see 360 degrees, meaning they can see what’s going on behind them without moving their heads.
  10. 10. Our most recognisable sheep at Willows has been nicknamed Sharky by our shepherd Tuck, because she has an overbite and her bottom jaw sticks out, like a sharp. See if you can spot her next time you’re on the farm.