Sustainable and biodegradable. Sheep's fleece (wool) has been going down in favour in the UK. Sheep still need to be shorn for health reasons each year. This year the prices paid to the farmer by the wool marketing board is so insulting many sheep farmers are electing to simply throw the fleece within the muck heap.
We would like to help our neighbouring farmers by offering you the general public easier access to this fantastic product. We are selling at cost so this year is an ideal opportunity to experiment.
Historically wool has provided the human race with clothing and housing insulation, but saw a steady decline with the progression of man-made materials. Our neighbouring town of Brackley was historically a market town based on the wool and lace trade. Which makes the decline in British wool usage even more pertinent to the surrounding farms which would have developed with this in mind.
With recent attention focussing on climate change, pollution, waste and recycling, wool is being revisited as a renewable, sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative in a number of areas.
How are sheep shorn?
Shearing doesn't usually hurt a sheep. It's just like getting a hair cut. However, shearing requires skill so that the sheep is shorn efficiently and quickly without causing cuts or injury to the sheep or shearer.
In the UK shearers are trained and hold a Blue seal qualification as a beginner and a Gold seal when advanced.
So what is raw fleece?
Raw fleece is the wool shorn straight from the sheep. It is unwashed, and you are therefore recommended to wear gloves when handling.
Uses of raw fleece with no need to wash
Sheep’s wool retains moisture and heat; protecting roots by keeping them cool in summer and warm in winter, and will prevent weeds from sprouting. It can also be used under plants to prevent moisture and nutrient run-off – whilst lanolin on the outside repels water, the inner cortex contains sulphur-rich proteins that attract water.
Garden Pest Control
Some wool textures can make it a slug and snail deterrent when used around plants.
Whilst biodegradable, the wool may take 3 months to 2 years to break down. It will need separating before adding to usual composting sources – earthworms, leaves (for carbon), grass, manure or blood meal (for nitrogen).
Sometimes used as insulation in the construction of eco-friendly dwellings and sources on the internet suggest using in hen coops and the like.
Important: Care must be taken handling untreated sheep’s wool and the use of it around children, people with underlying healthcare issues and other animals
Information on the handling of untreated sheep’s wool is available on a variety of woolspinners’ guilds and the government HSE websites