How do we get Wool from Sheep?

            During winters, your mother asks you to wear warm clothes. Warm clothes that we wear during the winters are mostly made of wool, which comes from sheep. Wool is also obtained from goats and other animals like llama and alpaca.

            Mostly it is the wool from sheep that we use for our winter clothing. Wool is basically fine, soft hair that forms the coats of the above mentioned animals. Hair grows on the bodies of sheep, as they grow on our head. Sheep and other animals have fine, thick woolly hair, which is called fleece. The fleece or hair of a sheep insulates it from the cold in winter. In other words, wool is animal fiber forming the protective covering the fleece of sheep. Do you know how wool is got form sheep? Wool is mainly obtained by shearing fleece form living animals and sometimes fro slaughtered sheep.

            After the fleece is sheared, it is rolled up in bundles, sorted out into different piles according to its quality. It is then cleaned of stains and dried. The entangled fibers are disentangled, twisted and spun in soft, loose irregular thread or yarn. Such strands used together are called 2-ply, 3-ply, etc., according to the coarseness or fineness of the fabric desired. Wool is dyed at the various stages of the manufacturing process.

            Nobody knows when man first tamed the sheep. But records reveal that the primitive man had domesticated sheep for both wool and meat. Over the passage of centuries, man has been able to breed many varieties of sheep. Some of them are valuable for their wool and others for their meat. A species of sheep named merino, found in Spain and Africa is highly productive of wool. Its whole body except legs and nose is covered with hair. The Merino sheep found in the United States of America and Australia produce large quantities of superior wool. Wool obtained from merino sheep is very warm.

            Australia is the biggest producer of wool in the world. Thirty percent of the total wool produced in the world is obtained from Australia alone. The United States of America ranks second in the production of wool. Australia’s yearly production of wool is about 1700 million pounds and U.S.A produces about 300 million pounds of wool annually. Sheep in Australia are sheared by robots.