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question about wool


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I have a Suffolk/Dorset X ewe who is badly in need of a haircut. My son and I have been shearing her down but its a slow process. The ewe is good about it, I hold her head and scratch her ear and Bounce is in a down a few feet away while son clips away.

She has a top layer of felted wool, light brown from burrs and muck and close to her skin its a rich, healthy black. There is a layer in between that is Olive green in colour. Picture a sheep in army fatigues - that colour. What would cause a sheeps wool to be Green?

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Sounds like wool rot, dermatitis and discoloration of the wool which occurs when the fleece is damp or wet for a period of time. The color green comes from a bacteria, pseudomonas aeruginosa to be exact. Certain sheep seem more prone to wool rot than others (some of my Corriedales, for example). Other than decreasing the value of the wool, I haven't found the wool rot itself to pose a major problem, but these same areas can be susceptible to fly strike so it's a good idea to get your ewe shorn.



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