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University of Illinois Extension serving Christian, Jersey, Macoupin and Montgomery Counties

Montgomery County
#1 Industrial Park Dr.
Hillsboro, IL 62049
Phone: 217-532-3941
FAX: 217-532-3944
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 12 pm; 1 pm to 4:30 pm

Christian County
1120 N Webster St.
Taylorville, IL 62568
Phone: 217-287-7246
FAX: 217-287-7248
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 11:30 am; 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm

Jersey County
201 W. Exchange St.
Suite A
Jerseyville, IL 62052
Phone: 618-498-2913
FAX: 618-498-5913
Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday 8 am to 12 pm; 1 pm to 4 pm and Thursday 8 am to 12 pm

Macoupin County
#60 Carlinville Plaza
Carlinville, IL 62626
Phone: 217-854-9604
FAX: 217-854-7804
Hours: Monday - Thursday 8 am to 12 pm; 1 pm to 4:30 pm

News Release

Learn shearing, hoof trimming and more in sheep skills workshop

Source: Andy Larson, 815-758-8194,

News writer : Stephanie Henry, 217-244-1183,


URBANA, Ill. - Sheep owners need to be proficient in several hands-on skills to manage their animals humanely and efficiently, including basic handling, tagging, hoof trimming, and shearing. However, it is often useful to see these activities demonstrated in-person by an experienced teacher before tackling them oneself. 


“I regularly get calls from newer sheep and lamb producers asking who in the area does hoof trimming or shearing,” says Andy Larson, a local food systems and small farms educator for University of Illinois Extension. “Unfortunately, it’s a short list of very busy people, and for small producers it often makes better financial sense to do it themselves.”


University of Illinois Extension is collaborating with The Wishing Oak Ranch in Big Rock to host a sheep shearing and handling skills workshop, taught by Aimee Swenson, ASI-Certified shearer and livestock manager for the Student Organic Farm at Michigan State University.


The first half of the workshop will cover general care and handling of sheep, including nutrition, castration, docking, and tagging. The second half of the workshop will demonstrate animal handling, shearing styles, and fleece skirting, as well as discuss marketing options for sheep products.


“This is a great chance to work with a veteran instructor to improve your know-how on a wide variety of sheep topics, and even try your hand at a few of the skills,” adds James Theuri, also a local food systems and small farms educator with Extension. “Bring your sheep questions, and be ready to get your hands dirty.”


The workshop will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 14 at The Wishing Oak Ranch, 49W161 Hinckley Rd, Big Rock, IL. Attendees must wear clean, chore clothes appropriate for the weather, closed-toe boots that can be easily washed and sanitized, and bring hoof trimmers if readily available. The need for safety requires that small children or animals may not accompany adults, as this is a participatory workshop on a working livestock farm.


Registration is $30 and should be completed online at  The registration deadline is Wednesday, May 11. Space is extremely limited. Lunch and educational materials are included.


Contact Andy Larson at 815-732-2191 or James Theuri at 815-933-8337 for more information.  If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact U of I Extension.



Local Contact: Gary Letterly, Extension Educator, Energy and Environmental Stewardship,