“There's a technique to it,” said Dreger. “He puts them on their rump and he just starts shearing. Some of these guys can shear a sheep in less than five minutes.”
It's hard work and requires the shearer to stay in top shape. The ewes can weigh upwards of 180 pounds, especially if they're pregnant. Since lambing happens in the middle of June at Diamond Valley Farms, most of the female sheep are carrying the extra weight, said Dreger.
Before starting, a shearer usually goes through a series of stretches to warm up, he said. It takes a lot of muscle work to hold the sheep down on its rump while it's sheared – especially since the sheep don't tend to enjoy the process.
Two of the males, technically known as 66 and 67, were intended to be processed in 2016, but Laurie and Marilyn decided they were too friendly. They now lovingly refer to them as Pastor Steve and Pastor George, after the pastors of their church.
A female, named Tulip, has been kept as a pet because she's smaller than the average sheep and not ideal for processing or breeding. Now two years old, she's become a favourite friend in the flock.
Then there's the grandfather of the farm, Tetley, who's about 14 years old. When the couples took over the farm in 2005, he was sick and being isolated in a pen.