June 2016

Sheep and Copper

20 June, 2016 - 13:30 | Lara Pollard-Jones

In my (Sue's) experience, the biggest single factor in health of sheep is the correct balance of minerals, which permits their immune systems to function optimally.  Thus for example, most sheep should not have much copper, though all need some, with downland and Texel sheep being particularly susceptible to copper poisoning, fine-woolled sheep intermediate, while Gotlands and Finnsheep are more tolerant than other breeds and indeed need a greater amount.

http://www.photojoiner.net/image/Drw4fYr3

This is why it is important never to feed sheep with pig or poultry feed, which contains too much copper.  My sheep broke into the feed store and gorged themselves on pig food once and the greediest had the worst hangovers – luckily a vitamin injection was sufficient to get them back into a state of normality (as far as Gotlands are ever normal …).

Uses for waste wool

6 June, 2016 - 13:00 | Lara Pollard-Jones

In the UK we use as much of our wool as possible and try to waste the minimum amount.  To this end, the best and softest fibres are used for clothing, knitwear, knitting and weaving yarns.  More coarse fibres are used in the production of carpet yarns.  Any processing waste such as yarn ends or substandard fibre can be used in the production of felted underlay and insulation.

Before the fibre even gets to the processing stage it needs to be sorted.  Once the fleece is shorn from the sheep the dags and substandard can be removed and the good fibre rolled ready to go on for other uses. 

In some cases, the reject fibres are put into compost or on the garden (wool can work as a slug repellent due to its scales).  As wool is able to absorb water and bio-degrades slowly it makes a good mulch, particularly for young trees and shrubs where it will also help prevent them being overcome by competition from weeds.

Blacker Yarns

enquiries@blackeryarns.co.uk | +44 (0) 1566 777 635

 

The Natural Fibre Company

enquiries@thenaturalfibre.co.uk | +44 (0) 1566 777 635