In Germany’s Taunus Mountains, it's shearing season for sheep as summer approaches

The ritual is carried out for the sheep’s benefit, however, sparing them from carrying a heavy coat during the warm summer months.

The Associated Press June 04, 2021 18:34:00 IST
In Germany’s Taunus Mountains, it's shearing season for sheep as summer approaches
In Germanys Taunus Mountains its shearing season for sheep as summer approaches

It’s time for the sheep in Germany’s Taunus Mountains to get their summer look, and the shearers are making quick work of relieving the 1,000 or so in Volker Schuhmacher’s flock of their shaggy coats. | In the picture: Sheep wait for shearing in Usingen near Frankfurt, Germany, on Saturday, 29 May, 2021. Photo via The Associated Press/Michael Probst

In Germanys Taunus Mountains its shearing season for sheep as summer approaches

A team of four shearers works its way through the animals, keeping the sheep in a firm grip while removing about 4 kilos (8.8 pounds) of wool from each one. | In the picture: Sheep gather ear satellite dishes before they are taken to shearing in Usingen. Photo via The Associated Press/Michael Probst

In Germanys Taunus Mountains its shearing season for sheep as summer approaches

The most experienced cutters can shear a sheep in two minutes. The job is not as easy as they make it look: the shearers must wield their tools while keeping under control a wriggling animal weighing up to 100 kilos (220 pounds) and not necessarily eager to lose its winter padding. | In the picture: A sheepdog jumps over a fence to round up sheep before they are taken to shearing in Usingen. Photo via The Associated Press/Michael Probst

In Germanys Taunus Mountains its shearing season for sheep as summer approaches

The ritual is carried out for the sheep’s benefit, however, sparing them from carrying a heavy coat during the warm summer months. | In the picture: Shepherd Volker Schuhmacher rounds up his sheep before shearing in Usingen near Frankfurt. Photo via The Associated Press/Michael Probst

In Germanys Taunus Mountains its shearing season for sheep as summer approaches

Schuhmacher is not thrilled by the growing heap as a helper gathers up the wool and adds it to the pile. There’s no money to be earned from the cut fleece, which is compressed into balls that take up space. | In the picture: A sheep tries to escape from shearing in Usingen near Frankfurt. Photo via The Associated Press/Michael Probst

In Germanys Taunus Mountains its shearing season for sheep as summer approaches

“You can’t get rid of it,” the farmer says. “I still have last year’s wool.” | In the picture: A young sheep shearer works on a sheep in Usingen near Frankfurt. Photo via The Associated Press/Michael Probst

In Germanys Taunus Mountains its shearing season for sheep as summer approaches

Arnd Ritter, an adviser on sheep farming to the regional government’s agriculture service, told news agency dpa that one issue is that potential customers want large quantities of wool of the same quality. | In the picture: A sheep shearer works on a sheep in Usingen. Photo via The Associated Press/Michael Probst

In Germanys Taunus Mountains its shearing season for sheep as summer approaches

He said Germany is notable for keeping a variety of sheep breeds, with differing wool qualities, so many prefer to import wool from countries such as Australia, China or New Zealand where flocks are more uniform. | In the picture: A sheep shearer works on a sheep in Usingen. Photo via The Associated Press/Michael Probst

In Germanys Taunus Mountains its shearing season for sheep as summer approaches

Still, the weather has cooperated in the range of low mountains north of Frankfurt this year. Warmer temperatures are better for the sheep at shearing time. | In the picture: Sheep shearers work on sheep in Usingen. Photo via The Associated Press/Michael Probst

In Germanys Taunus Mountains its shearing season for sheep as summer approaches

“When it’s cool and they are naked, that’s not so good. They have to get used to the temperatures without their wool,” Schuhmacher says. “But with the weather now, it isn’t a problem.” | In the picture: Sheep wool is piled up during a sheep shearing in Usingen. Photo via The Associated Press/Michael Probst

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