I am a certified Beginner Level 2 sheep shearer from the University of California ANR in Hopland, CA. I provide tiny flock sheep shearing services throughout the Bay Area and northern California. Please read this page and contact me at stephany.wilkes [@] gmail [dot] com to inquire further. Please note: I am often on the road and do not see or respond to blog comments, so email is best.
I am a certified Level I Wool Classer, having met the requirements of the American Sheep Industry (ASI) Association’s Certified Wool Classing Program in May 2014. I also work as a ranch hand for select customers to assist with lambing and other livestock needs.
We will talk through this by phone before I shear for you, but I will need to know:
There are some critically important things you should do to prepare for shearing:
Not much. I bring everything I need with me, but the following items are always helpful:
I do not have strict geographic boundaries for shearing services. I do my best to adapt based on your needs and location and my schedule. I shear throughout the Bay Area; Marin; the Alexander, Russian River and Napa Valleys; and have gone as far as the Ukiah vicinity and Davis, CA. I am flexible and can probably work with your location.
I shear on weekdays and weekends by appointment only, all year round. I am self-employed and thus have a good degree of flexibility.
I became a certified shearer in May 2013, 2014 and 2015 because I want to directly support my local California wool economy in a way that goes beyond buying yarn (which I’m still plenty good at). I want to do everything I can to help California wool production and to make wool producers’ lives easier, so that we can all enjoy a healthy supply of 100% ecologically and domestically produced fiber and, by extension, clothing.
There is a shortage of shearers in the U.S. and people with small flocks (many of whom are knitters and spinners) have an especially difficult time finding shearers. It’s not always worth a shearer’s time to travel far to shear just a few head. This creates a challenge at best, and a disincentive to wool production at worst, for people who might otherwise contribute to the wool economy.
Because I only have the strength and time for tiny flock shearing, I am in a good position help an under-served part of the wool economy.
I became a wool classer so I could better handle fleeces I shear, and to be able to help out at a local wool mill that’s getting up and running.
At present, I do not have the physical strength to shear more than 20 or so sheep in a day, depending on the size of the sheep. I can do more 70-80 lb. Shetland in a day than I can 250+ lb. Romney.
Shearing is very physically demanding work (especially if a sheep weighs more than I do, as is often the case in the U.S. with our large meat sheep). I’m getting stronger all the time but I’m also honest about my limitations.
If you have a large flock of sheep that needs shearing, I can recommend several very experienced, reliable shearers, whom I know personally. They will do a top-notch shearing job for you.
Yes. I charge $5/head for this service.
No. I am happy to recommend other, experienced shearers who shear llama and alpaca.
Yes, with some caveats. I only have experience with liquid drench administered via drenching gun (oral syringe). I find this process works best and goes much faster when we can work as a team of at least two people. This enables one person to fill the drenching gun with the appropriate quantity of drench for each animal (depending on weight) and another person to administer it, which must be done carefully.
Please note that you must have all of the necessary drenching equipment (drugs/drench/wormer in sufficient quantity, drenching gun(s) in good condition) and each animal’s weight in order to formulate the proper dose. I am of the “weigh, don’t guess” school of thought: if you do not know how much your sheep weighs and have no scale to determine it, I cannot advise guessing.
As for shearing, it is generally advisable to withhold food and water for at least 12 hours prior to drenching.
I accept cash only, please, and have the following rates:
Yes, and I can also teach you how to do so. I will need a skirting table or chicken wire on a frame in order to skirt properly. If such is not available, I can minimally skirt your fleece on a clean canvas that I carry with me.
Yes, though I assist with post-lambing ranch needs like pen cleaning, weighing and so on more than lambing itself. I’m of the no-to-low human intervention school of thought when it comes to lambing, though there are exceptions. Some breeds require more human intervention due to a history of… human intervention. Merino sheep, for instance, are not typically good mothers and lambs often need to be bottle fed.
Yes. That’s just how it worked out when I moved to California to be with the man who became my husband. Believe it or not, San Francisco is a very convenient location for a sheep shearer. I’m centrally located to serve wool producers as far north as Ukiah (and farther, by arrangement); as far east as Lake County, Davis, Sacramento, Vacaville, Dixon, Hayward, Castro Valley, and more; and as far south as Gilroy. Every time I consider moving someplace else, I realize it would mean giving up at least one of my service areas, so I am in San Francisco for the foreseeable future.
I sure am! I serve as the campaign manager and a point of contact for Mendocino Wool & Fiber, a new wool mill in Ukiah, CA started by shearer Matt Gilbert and his wife, Sarah Gilbert. You can learn more about the mill and our latest updates at our Indiegogo campaign page or on Facebook. We’re grateful for your interest and support.