Shearers usually earn about $150 for every 100 sheep they shear. The number of sheep they can shear depends on their experience, their level of fitness, and the breed and size of the sheep.
Learner shearers may shear up to 200 sheep a day.
Experienced shearers should be able to shear between 200 and 300 sheep a day, or more.
Highly experienced shearers may shear 400 sheep a day or more.
Almost all shearers are employed on a casual basis. While some shearers get as much as 10 months of employment a year, others may work for as few as three months a year.
Source : New Zealand Shearing Contractors Association, 2015.
This information is a guide only. )
What you will do
Shearers may do some or all of the following :
catch sheep from a small catching pen
drag sheep out of the catching pen to the shearing stand
shear the fleece (wool) off in a set pattern of blows (shearing strokes)
release sheep into a counting-out pen
clean combs and cutters and sharpen them using a grinder (usually on breaks during the day or at night after work).
Skills and knowledge
Shearers need to have knowledge of :
how to catch and handle sheep correctly
how to hold sheep in the correct position for shearing
proper lifting and dragging techniques that minimise strain on the lower back
good shearing techniques
how to use and maintain hand-pieces (clippers) and machinery such as grinders
what type of shearing equipment to use in certain conditions.
work eight or nine hours a day and often start early in the morning (about 7am), and sometimes work weekends. Shorter days only occur because of rain (wet sheep cannot be shorn) or when a farmer runs out of sheep to shear
work mainly during peak shearing times, which run from November to March and from July to September
work in shearing sheds that are usually busy and sometimes noisy
normally travel each day to a farmer's shearing shed, and sometimes may be required to stay on the farm in shearing quarters until the shearing on that farm is finished.
There are no specific entry requirements to become a shearer because you learn most skills on the job. However, formal qualifications are becoming more common.
Shearers can complete a New Zealand Certificate in Shearing Blade / Crossbred / Fine (Level 4) while working.
Shearers need to be :
efficient and methodical
A competitive streak is useful because it can help shearers increase their daily tallies.
Useful experience for shearers includes work on farms, or jobs that involve animal-handling.
Shearers need to be fit and healthy because shearing is a physically and mentally demanding job. They need to have :
good reflexes, balance and hand-eye co-ordination
some athletic ability to be able to handle sheep
flexibility and stamina.
It is important that shearers do not have any back problems as their work requires a lot of bending.