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What sheep classes are offered at Hopland REC?

The UC Hopland Research and Extension Center ranches a flock of 200 western whiteface ewes for rangeland research and education programs. Come meet the flock and learn key skills associated with running your own flock, or working with sheep. Annual classes include:

Lambing School

Join UC Davis Sheep and Goat Extension Veterinarian Dr. Rosie Busch for an in-depth, real-time look at barn and pasture lambing systems. Over the course of three days, we'll provide real-time information about managing lambing systems, including lambing problems, lamb/ewe nutrition, record-keeping, and lamb survival.
Limited to 20 participants. 
When: Registration opens November, class takes place in January.
Class size: Limited to 20 participants.

Sheep Shearing and Basic Care 101

The University of California Hopland Research and Extension Center “Sheep Shearing and Basic Care 101” class will focus on hands-on shearing training in a small group setting (10-12 students), with additional lecture and discussion time to consider the many elements surrounding sheep handling, husbandry, flock health, running a mobile shearing service, ethical shearing, grazing for fuel reduction and climate beneficial ranching practices.

This immersive week-long course will give you the skills and knowledge required to be able to confidently and efficiently shear sheep on your own. Using the gold standard New Zealand (AKA "Bowen") shearing method, you will be guided through each step with great care so that stress to the sheep--and to you--is limited as much as possible.

When: Applications open November, classes take place in April
Class size: Two separate classes, limited to 9 participants at each class.

Crutching, Wigging and Catch Pen Dynamics

This school will feature the same immersive hands-on shearing training in a small group setting (maximum 9 students) that we utilize in our Sheep Shearing and Basic Care 101 course. This class, however, will be focused on the following three topics:

Crutching sheep
“Crutching” is the practice of removing wool from between the legs, around the rear end. Often farmers will want some or all of the belly wool removed in addition to the crutch, and all of these methods will be covered so that you are prepared for any of these requests from your customers.

Wigging Sheep
“Wigging” is the removal of wool to prevent wool blindness in sheep. In this course we will learn how to do it safely and efficiently so that you can do the same thing when you’re working out in the field.

Catch Pen Dynamics
This is the most important topic of the course as far as your body is concerned. Because the crutching process takes so much less time than completely shearing a sheep, you will physically have to handle and move many times more sheep in one day of crutching than you will in one day of shearing. In this course we will explore the methods and mindset necessary to limit the stress on your body while crutching. 



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Angelica close up with fleece