Bruce Clement has been shearing sheep since he was 12 years old. He grew up next door to a sheep farm and had a few lambs of his own. He thought it would be fun to learn how to shear the sheep, so he took a one day 4-H class and learned the basics. His neighbor welcomed him to practice on his sheep and Bruce was hooked! Over the years, Bruce has been to professional shearing schools in this area and also at Cornell University. When working at the Cheshire County Cooperative Extension as an Agriculture Educator, Bruce hosted many sheep shearing classes and taught them as well.
Bruce has been introducing guests at East Hill Farm to sheep shearing for many years. It all started when he would come to our barn to shear the sheep and guests started asking questions and hanging around to watch the process. We decided to turn it into one of our farm educational opportunities for our visitors. It has grown in popularity over the years as guests want to be more and more involved in the workings of the farm.
Sheep are typically shorn one time per year, usually during March and April. Most shepherds will try to time the shearing for right before lambing season. At East Hill Farm, we are on a slightly different schedule since we want to provide the experience to as many guests as possible. We expand our shearing schedule throughout the year. Some sheep are shorn in the fall when we tend to have Farm School students here who will practice shearing along with learning how to work with the fiber. We also like to offer it during our Step Back in Time Weekends and Homesteading Weekends.