AP PHOTOS: Shearing time for sheep in Germany’s mountains
It’s time for the sheep in Germany’s Taunus Mountains to get their summer look, and the shearers are making quick work of relieving the 1,000 or so in Volker Schuhmacher’s flock of their shaggy coats.
A team of four shearers works its way through the animals, keeping the sheep in a firm grip while removing about 4 kilos (8.8 pounds) of wool from each one.
The most experienced cutters can shear a sheep in two minutes. The job is not as easy as they make it look: the shearers must wield their tools while keeping under control a wriggling animal weighing up to 100 kilos (220 pounds) and not necessarily eager to lose its winter padding.
The ritual is carried out for the sheep’s benefit, however, sparing them from carrying a heavy coat during the warm summer months. Schuhmacher is not thrilled by the growing heap as a helper gathers up the wool and adds it to the pile. There’s no money to be earned from the cut fleece, which is compressed into balls that take up space.