Sheep (England): Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock (PB5162)

Management: Shearing


  1. Every mature sheep should have its fleece removed at least once a year.
  2. Shearers should be experienced, competent and have received adequate training in shearing techniques. Inexperienced shearers should be supervised by suitably competent staff. When shearing, care should be taken not to cut the skin of the sheep. Where a wound does occur, immediate treatment should be given.
  3. Shearers and all contractors should clean and disinfect their equipment between flocks to minimise the risk of spreading disease.
  4. Full use should be made of weather forecasts and shelter to avoid excessive cold stress to newly shorn sheep at whatever time of year shearing is carried out.
  5. Winter shearing is not a suitable practice unless the sheep are housed.
  6. Sheep which were shorn and housed in winter should be turned out to grass in spring only when the fleece has regrown to 15-20 mm in length and when weather conditions are favourable. Where adequate natural shelter is not available, other means should be adopted, such as the provision of straw bales.
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