By Stephanie Hoffer Robinson, Environmental Education Planner
Have you ever seen a sheep get a haircut? Just because you don’t live on a farm doesn’t mean you should miss out on the experience! Our great city still has a working educational farm where you can watch sheep get a haircut. That’s right! Parks & Rec’s Fox Chase Farm in Northeast Philly is home to several breeds of sheep. These include Baby Doll and Hampshire Sheep. Each spring, the farm hosts an event to show how these sheep are freed from their winter woolies.
Not a stylist or a barber…
So where do sheep go for a haircut? Nowhere! The “barber” comes to them. The process of removing the wool from a sheep is called sheep shearing. Domestic sheep should be shorn at least once per year. Raising and shearing sheep is one of the world’s oldest industries. It’s been a thriving business for thousands of years due to the many uses of wool.
- does not hurt the sheep (if it’s done right!)
- allows sheep to be cooler over the summer
- reduces sheep’s exposure to insect pests and disease
- provides raw material that can be spun and woven.
Wool from sheep is used to make:
- felt and crafting supplies
Each spring, people flock to Fox Chase Farm to watch as locally raised sheep are freed from their winter wool. Our experienced shearers remove 10 or more pounds of wool from each sheep in five minutes!
A “wool-raising” event
For “shear’’ family fun, check out Sheep Shearing Day at Fox Chase Farm on April 27, 2019 from 12 p.m.-4 p.m. Admission is $3.00 per person ages 3 and up.
Besides seeing shaggy sheep get their springtime haircuts, you can:
- learn what happens to fleece once it leaves the sheep – including washing, carding, dyeing, and spinning.
- see the Pennsylvania Handweavers Guild show different weaving methods
- hear live music by Celtic Connection
- watch blacksmith and woodworking demonstrations
- enjoy family games, crafts, hayrides, and more.