those of you that have not used sheep covers before and are wondering
how Sheep Suits work. Please click on the questions below to view the
answers to some Frequently Asked Questions.
do you measure for sheep covers?
Sheep Suits sizes need only one measurement.
That measurement is the length. The length is measured from the base of the neck just in front
of the shoulders to the end of the wool you want to cover. There is an illustration
here to show you what I am talking about.
ARTICLE FROM SHEEP MAGAZINE!
I allow room for wool growth? How many sizes will a sheep go through in
As your sheep's wool grows throughout the year, you will need larger and
larger covers. Then when you shear them, you will wonder what happened
to all of the sheep that was under that blanket. My sheep used 4 different (consecutive) size covers each year. Your sheep may go through
more or less depending on the breed. When more and more of their rear end begins to show
out the back of the blanket and the leg strap begins to get snug, it is
time to go to the next larger size. However, if the cover droops off the
rear of the animal and the leg strap droops below the hock, the blanket
is too large and the sheep may step out of it. The Sheep!Magazine article above has illustrations of Sheep Suits that are too small, too large and a correct fit.
there elastic on the leg bands to allow for wool growth?
No. Elastic in the leg strap would not really allow for wool growth. It
would not be sturdy enough and it would make it even easier for the sheep to
get out of the leg strap. The wool expands in all directions and soon fills out the cover so that you have to go to a larger size to accomodate the growth. I use 1" nylon
webbing for leg straps. They are very durable and difficult to rip or tear out
of the cover, yet they are also soft enough so that it does not irritate the
inside of the leg.
the wool ever cot or felt under the covers?
Not if you are using the right fabric and pay attention to the way your covers fit. Please see my FABRIC page for information on which material will work for your breed. Felting has always been my biggest concern because I sold my wool to hand spinners.
I tested the heavy fabric covers on a Corriedale flock in Wyoming for one year before
putting them on the market. I personally skirted the fleeces of
those sheep and there was no felting. You may expect to find a little
felting along the blanket lines (the neck edge mainly) but I have had
that occur with all the covers I've ever used. Also, keep in mind, that
felting can occur if the sheep is in a cover that is too small for too long.
are concerned about sun bleaching on the dark fleeces. Are the coats UV
No. They are UV resistant but they are not UV proof. As
with any cover, you might get a bit of bleaching on the very tips of the
fleece but not down into the fiber like you will find if they were not
covered. This woven fabric lets some sunlight into
the fleece but not enough to significantly discolor your nice black wool.
live in a wet climate and worry about "green wool". Are the
Yes. They are made of uncoated nylon that is used in the outdoor industry
to make all kinds of packs and other heavy duty items. Water as a liquid
will pass through the fabric so water as a vapor has no problem. John
and Toni of Woodland, Washington have this to say: "The coats
appear to breathe well while keeping the fleeces clean. I think the concern
in wet climates is mildew and mold. I haven't seen any on my girls. Because
the coats breathe and are not waterproof they work well."
rams rip the fronts out of the coats I have now. Will this happen with
Possibly. The front panel on Sheep Suits is sewn in using a bi-fold or French seam like the one on the outside of the legs of your blue jeans.
This means that the two sides of the fabric are sewn together, then folded
back on each other and sewn again. As of the summer of 2011 I have begun to put additional stitching along each edge and down the middle of the seam. Then the corners are double stitched
for strength. This makes a very strong joint. On most sheep I have not
had any problems. However, I have heard of two rams that are shall I say got a bit ram-bunctuous and had problems. For these few problem boys I can sew some of my nylon
webbing that I use for leg straps all the way around the seam and top
edge of the front panel. This seems to do the trick. I can add this webbing
for an additional $8 per cover.
don't you make your blankets longer on the sides to cover more wool?
I feel that if the blankets were any longer on the sides, the leg strap
would begin to droop down below the hock and would make it very easy for
a leg to come out of the leg strap or for the sheep to put both legs into
the same strap. If is gets much lower in the front; it will begin to impede
the walking motion of the sheep. I have designed Sheep Suits for the widest
spectrum of sheep possible and I understand that while it would be nice
to have a style for each breed of sheep, this is just not possible to do.
9. How can I tell the size of my covers?
2011 was a year for change at Sheep Suits. In addition to triple stitching the chest seams and sewing a piece of webbing over the side tucks to strengthen them, I now sew different colors of webbing at the rear of the cover to indicate the size.
if I measured wrong and the sizes I purchased don't really fit right?
Can I exchange them for the correct sizes?
Sure, I have no problem swapping sizes as long as the covers have not
been worn. Try them on and if they do not fit correctly take them off
and send them back. You will pay the shipping to return the wrong size
and to ship the correct one, but before you decide to return them, make
sure that the covers that you ordered can't be used on your sheep at some
other time. Since they wear 3 or 4 different sizes during the year, the
coats you have may fit at another time.