I rooed PS23 Dove (seen above) on Friday. I never rooed a sheep before and this was kind of cool. Her wool around her neck was falling off and I tied her up and just peeled her fleece off. I got the neck wool off first and peeled (kind of like peeling a banana) backwards toward the britch-the fleece came off in one piece and it only took about 20 minuets.
Shetland sheep get what is called the "rise" where their wool stops growing and gets a natural break. Just before the "rise" the wool gets compacted at skin level and you can't easily part the fleece to see the skin. Then the fleece "rises" and you can see the skin-they are then ready for shearing or rooing. Rooing is basically pulling the loose wool off the sheep.
Here is a picture of the "rise".
Rooing was historically the way Shetland wool was harvested on the Shetland Islands. In modern times it has been easier or more convenient to shear, so many of the Shetland sheep have been bred against this trait. Some don't roo any at all and some roo only on their necks, and britch area. Others roo on the neck, britch, belly and on their back line. I have a lot of Shetlands that roo in patches and a few who don't roo at all. This is the first one I've had that rooed competly!
This is a picture PS23 Emrald shorn. Emrald is one that won't roo. Her dam did not roo either. She kept her dark patches on her sides!
This year I'm late with shearing as I normally shear before lambing. (I did not shear as the sheep that had gotten sick from acidosis, (grain overload), lost a lot of weight and I had more barn space with 15 fewer ewes.) This year was the first year I've lambed out unshorn ewes and does. I have now shorn all the Angoras and a lot of the sheep.
Not all are ready to shear, and since I waited so long already I may as well wait untill they are ready to shear. I have 18 more Shetlands to shear: about 6 or 7 are ready and the rest are not ready. I normally shear in the beginning of March (the rams get shorn later as they don't have lambs.) I reshear the ewes that need reashearing-about half--when they are ready (usually in May or June.)
If they are shorn too early they get the rise and the wool gets matted on the outside of their next fleece. I have to say over-all the wool lost from shearing too early and then reshearing is a wash with the amount wasted because they get dirtier when shorn late. I also still like shearing before lambing better because they don't bring as much water into the barn when it rains, the barn would be less crowded and the ewe's back end is cleaner for the lambs finding milk.