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Sheep clipping time in Cabot - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Sheep clipping time in Cabot

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CABOT, Vt. -

The sounds of spring can be heard coming from the barn. 

"I do sheep shearing for a living in the spring time," said Peter Brandt, who travels the back roads of Vermont giving haircuts. "Traveling the back roads of Vermont -- they are ok now, but in mud season, you will want a four wheel drive because some places you don't think you will ever get out of," he said.

Brandt shears small flocks -- a sheep here, a sheep there. If he worked in New Zealand he would have to work faster. That far away country has hundreds of thousands of sheep. The Cabot man is careful not to cut the sometimes squirmy critters. "I have dinged them as part of learning. I also go slow. I do smaller flocks. In New Zealand, they have 4,000 to do. I can take my time," he said.

This season Brandt might shear 700 sheep. It's a skill that's rare -- taught to him by a family friend. All the animals get a pedicure before returning to the pasture. It can be backbreaking work wrangling animals on to their backs.  Brandt makes himself as big as possible, and a few tugs here and there and the ram is placed on his rump.  "The pattern is actually used in Australia and New Zealand. They have come up with the best pattern of shearing sheep which looks like it is mean to the sheep but it's generally the best way to shear a sheep without harming them because the positioning you use. There are less wrinkles, less movement. The position is the most comfortable for the sheep in the shearing process," Brandt said.

It's a clean clip. The sheep is ready for the summer heat. "A lot of people normally laugh at them. I am sure they feel good being out of that position and having that fleece off. It's like a wool coat. We don't want them to be overheated in the summer time," Brandt said.

Sheer perfection from a Vermont sheep shearer.

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