Shedded sheep are kept in group pens or in individual stalls within a large shed for up to five years.
Wool from shedded sheep is premium ultra-fine wool and it makes up about 12% of the Australian wool market.
By housing sheep indoors it is possible to have more control over their wool. The ability to manipulate the nutrition of the shedded sheep means it is possible to produce wool that is several microns finer than it otherwise would be.
Controlling nutrition is the most effective way to produce ultra-fine wool. However, it comes with problems:
•Feeding may be restricted to a bare minimum of energy required to maintain life.
•The nutritional value of the feed can be very poor.
•Restricted feeding affects a sheep’s digestive function.
•Shed rations are small, especially if they are pelleted.
•Daily rations are eaten quickly, leaving nothing to do all day.
•A sheep’s natural behaviour is to graze for 50% of each day.
•Behavioural problems often develop to compensate for boredom in sheds.
Sheep are intensely social animals and being part of a flock is fundamental to their wellbeing.
•Sheep suffer acute stress due to change of environment and diet.
•Sheep are stressed by the lack of flock structure and space to move.
•Stress continues because sheep cannot escape from the stressors
•Long-term confinement and chronic stress lead to changes in a sheep’s normal behaviour.
Behavioural problems seen in shedded sheep include:
•Chewing slats, bars, buckets or pen fixtures
•Mouthing air and repetitive licking
•Panting (without heat stress)
•Obsessive movements such as rearing, butting, leaping and weaving.
There needs to be laws made to ban part of the wool industry, It is cruel and unnecessary.