05 May 2008

Eek! Naked Sheep!

A festival volunteer does a a sheep shearing demonstration with electric clippers.

Another volunteer shears his Border Leicester with blade shears. This method is more time consuming, but less traumatic for the sheep. He also explained that in past the wool of black sheep* was practically worthless because everyone wanted white wool which could be dyed. Today, however, it is very sought-after by spinners and weavers of natural hues precisely because of its blackness.

*The English idiom ‘black sheep’ originated from the occasional black sheep which are born into a herd of white sheep due to a genetic process of recessive traits. Black sheep were considered commercially undesirable because their wool cannot be dyed as white wool can.

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