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21 Year Old Joanne Devaney from beautiful Sligo  spends most of her time with her furry friends, turning them into less-furry friends. Joanne is a sheep shearer, and has been known to provide up to 200 haircuts on a given day.

Growing up in the shadow of Benbulben mountain, Joanne has spent her entire life working with her Dad and her brother, even holding the title of  Ireland’s ‘Queen of the Shears’ at the All-Ireland Sheep Shearing Championships from 2016 to 2018.

Tell us more Joanne……

My official title is….

Joanne Devaney -Sheep shearer

This means that I….

Give sheep haircuts! In the summer months, a big woolly fleece can cause lots of problems. These include:

-Getting too hot

-Getting stuck on their back

-Fly strike (maggots)

I shear of the sheep’s fleece, and the farmer can then sell the wool. Wool is an amazing product! It is a great insulator (keeps you cool in summer and warm in winter), it’s flame resistant, naturally renewable (grows back every year) and is eco-friendly (100% biodegradable).

The 3 best things about my job that make me jump out of bed in the morning are…

I love animals, especially sheep! The opportunity to work with them everyday drew me in.

Competitions. I compete at shearing competitions throughout the summer. The desire to better myself in order to do better at competitions is what drives me. Practice makes perfect!

The 3 not so great things about my job that make me roll over a bury my head in the pillow are..

It’s physical work. It’s hard to motivate yourself after a tough, long day. But the good days make up for it!

When people say shearing is cruel. I’ve never raised my hand to a sheep! It’s important that farmers search for skilled shearers, that have done shearing courses and who practice a good technique. This minimizes stress on the animal, which is in the interest of the farmer. Learning a good shearing pattern also benefits the shearer. It’s a lot easier as well as quicker to shear a comfortable sheep then it is to shear one that’s fighting you. There’s plenty for me to still learn but I’ll get there!

 

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I blagged this job by…

I grew up on a farm. My Dad and brother shore before me.

I started 4 years ago. When growing up, I used to pack the wool for Dad. Once I showed an interest, my Dad and brother helped me along and encouraged me. Now I shear for the summer months along with them.

The best way to start shearing is to do some shearing courses. Shearing instructors are very experienced in the trade and will help you with not only your shearing technique but also equipment set up and maintenance.