NEW ZEALAND SHEEP FARM
-just 40 minutes from downtown Auckland!
New Zealand is known to have a lot of sheep…– approximately 10 sheep to every person!
Although our farm was originally a diary farm (from 1922), it has been a working sheep farm since 1940 due to the change in climate conditions. Over the years, we have subdivided quite a few times, and today, we have around 250 sheep on 47 acres (19ha) of land.
See this video of sheep shearing:
Our farm would be considered very small if compared with other sheep farms in New Zealand (which on average would be thousands of acres, carrying several thousand sheep!!), however, since our farm is situated just 40 minutes from downtown Auckland it is quite unique to still find a working sheep farm just minutes away from New Zealand’s largest city.
On our farm, we only do our shearing once per year, in early January (although you can shear a sheep 2 times a year; in January and June). There are also about 3 times per year when we have to do a “tidy-up” of around the sheep’s bottom area…called CRUTCHING.
When all of the wool is cut off the sheep, -a term called shearing,
we get a professional man to do the shearing, -he is called a shearer.
He is paid by the number of sheep he shears, (about $2.40 per sheep)
The wool from a sheep is called -a fleece.
We put about 60 fleeces into a big bag and machine press them into -a bale. One bale weighs 400lbs (180kg)
We send the wool to auction, under our own wool brand name; ‘Motutara’
See this video of sheep shearing and how we BALE the wool:
The first sheep to New Zealand came from England and were transported (by boat) by Captain Cook in 1773.
About 60% of the sheep in New Zealand are the ‘Romney‘ sheep breed, and this is the type of sheep that we have on our New Zealand sheep farm. This is a good all-round breed, good for both meat and wool production, although the Romney wool is not usually used for clothing manufacture as the wool is too coarse. Most of this wool goes to China to be spun into carpet yarn. The yarn then comes back to New Zealand where it is woven into carpets.
Wool that is good for clothing is from the ‘Merino‘ breed of sheep. This wool is very soft and fine, in fact one single fibre from the Merino sheep is thinner than a human hair! This breed of sheep lives best on dry ground; (wet soil give these sheep very sore feet, like Athlete’s foot, and the sheep get sick), so they are usually found on South Island farms in New Zealand. You would also find these sheep in Australia.
When you come on our Auckland Eco-tour, you will also be visiting our working sheep farm. We will show you inside our woolshed (built in 1930), where we have a wool display. You will also be able to feed and touch friendly sheep, and from August to January you will be able to bottle-feed lambs.
We will show you the special oil that is in the sheep’s wool. This oil is called lanolin and is extracted from the wool when the wool is washed, a term called scouring. This lanolin is sold to pharmaceutical companies where it is manufactured into beauty cremes and ointments. This oil is extremely good for our skin, and research has shown it to be very beneficial for people with sore skin who have diabetes.
We give samples from the Merino skin care, and you can also purchase these products while at our farm.
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