Careers New Zealand
New Zealand
4d ago

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.
  • Shearers :

  • 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.
  • Entry requirements

    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
  • self-disciplined
  • reliable
  • patient and tolerant
  • adaptable.
  • A competitive streak is useful because it can help shearers increase their daily tallies.

    Useful experience

    Useful experience for shearers includes work on farms, or jobs that involve animal-handling.

    Physical requirements

    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.

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