[Skip to content] [Skip to main navigation] [Skip to user navigation] [Skip to global search] [Accessibility information] [Contact us]

The Horniman Sheep Shearing

Last week, our sheep experienced an important moment in their lives: they were shorn for the first time. We popped down to the Animal Walk to capture the big day on camera, although we're not quite sure the sheep appreciated the audience.

Here's a reminder of what Ted, our Oxford Down sheep, looked like pre-shearing.

Animal Keeper Cat introduces Ted to Tom, assuring him our sheep are well-handled and promise to behave.

  • Sheep Shearing, Animal Keeper Cat makes introductions
    Animal Keeper Cat makes introductions

At first, Ted wasn't quite sure what to make of it.

  • Sheep Shearing, Tom gets to work
    Tom gets to work

But he soon settled down and let Tom do the tricky bits.

Oxford Down sheep are traditionally left with a 'top knot' of fleece. This distinguishes them from other breeds which might look quite similar once shorn.

These guys are next.

All done! Ted seems quite proud of his new look.

  • Sheep Shearing, Ted sporting his new look
    Ted sporting his new look

George inspects what he's sure used to be Ted. Maybe a little nervous that it's his turn next?

  • Sheep Shearing, George patiently waits his turn while Ted's fleece is tidied away.
    George patiently waits his turn while Ted's fleece is tidied away.

Tom also showed us how to roll up a whole fleece, using a twist to fasten it in one bundle.

  • Sheep Shearing, The last fleece of the day is neatly rolled and twisted
    The last fleece of the day is neatly rolled and twisted

The fleece will be washed, picked, carded, spun and finally knitted. We'll share the final product with you once all the hard work is done.

  • Sheep Shearing, Ted's fleece neatly tidied away, ready to be used
    Ted's fleece neatly tidied away, ready to be used

It wasn't long before we had three (slightly smaller) very sharp-looking sheep.

  • Sheep Shearing, Three sharp-looking sheep
    Three sharp-looking sheep

Thanks, Tom!

The Horniman Gardens Animal Walk will open this Summer. Before it does, you can still visit the sheep in their paddock next to the Pavilion building.