Right Methods for Sustainable and Ethical Wool Farming

Right Methods for Sustainable and Ethical Wool Farming

Wool is a popular fabric for clothing that is both warm and comfy. But it’s not produced as easy as shearing a happy sheep. The reality involves a complicated supply chain with a slew of animal welfare and environmental issues.

Sheep creates a circularity of fresh fleece every year, making wool a renewable fiber. Yarn is produced from a simple combination of sunlight, fresh water, plants, and fresh air. However, few individuals are aware of the proper and ethical methods that should be followed to produce wool.


Your main objective is to alleviate stress through correct management, diet, and health care. You can use the following methods:

  • Each animal has enough room based on its size, breed, and other guidelines.
  • Maintain sanitation and disease prevention in your facilities.
  • Ensure there are dry paths for sheep to go to and from pasture.

Applying these practices will ensure your sheep’s health and safety circularity.

Health and Medicine

Before utilizing any product not included in your Organic System Plan, you should contact your certifier (OSP). Also, have guests use booties or foot washes to clean and disinfect their shoes before visiting the barns or pastures.

All mature sheep’s hooves should be trimmed one or two times each year depending on their development.

Give sheep a foot wash in a 10% zinc sulfate solution once a week during the grazing period. Fill the foot bath with old wool or shavings to prevent solution splashing. Wear safety glasses to shield your eyes when preparing the foot massage solution.


Shearers and Wool

At least once a year, shear sheep. Some breeds are sheared twice a year, while others are clipped just once.

Before shearing, have the shearer disinfect the equipment, power cords, cutter, and combs.

Before handling and shearing your sheep, have the shearer wear clean clothes. Shearing sheep should be done after a 12-hour fast.

If any lumps appear on the sheep when shearing, disinfect the machinery before shearing the next sheep and cull that animal. Caseous lymphadenitis (CL) is a common bacterium illness that can cause lumps.

Pregnant, Lactating, or have Recently Given Birth

The proportion of lambs dropped and successfully raised will be significantly affected by careful management of pregnant, parturient, and nursing ewes.

As a result, the procedures listed below may be performed to ensure that these animals receive proper care.

Pregnant ewes should not be handled too often. Instead, separate the advanced pregnant ewes from the rest of the flock and feed and take them with great care.

The extra feed given to pre-parturient ewes in the last weeks of pregnancy (3-4 weeks before parturition) will benefit their milk supply, birth weight, and kid growth.

Keeping Records

Keep track of each ewe’s productivity. Percentage of marketable lambs per ewe, conception rate, lambing rate, lambing percentage, lamb survival rate

Keep track of your ewes’ behaviour before, during, and after lambing. Ewes should be marked and their ID numbers recorded.

Identify individuals who are poor moms, such as those who lack milk, who have injured udders. These ewes, as well as their lambs, should be killed.

Always keep track of flock members, rations, pasture usage, outside access/temporary restriction, field record, and health care. If applicable, keep track of the weights of wool obtained from each animal.

Author: Alison Lurie