- Wool is obtained from the fleece (hair) of sheep or yak
- Silk is obtained from cocoons of silk moth
How does wool keep animals warm?
- Wool, being the ‘Hair’ of the animals, traps a lot of air
- Air is a poor conductor of heat
- So this trapped air keeps the animal from feeling cold
Animals that yield wool:
- Sheep (most common), goat, yak and some other furry animals
- Yak wool is common in Tibet and Ladakh
- Angora wool is obtained from angora goats from the state of J&K
- The under fur of Kashmiri goat is soft & its wool is woven into fine Pashmina shawls
- Llama and Alpaca in South America also yields wool
Types of Sheep wool
- The coarse beard hair
- The fine soft under-hair close to the skin
The fine hair provide the fibres for making wool
Fibre to wool
Rearing of sheep
- Sheep are herbivores and prefer grass and leaves
- They are also fed with mixture of pulses, corn, jowar, oil cakes and minerals
- In winter, sheep are kept indoors and fed on leaves, grain and dry fodder
Breeding of Sheep
- Certain breeds of sheep have thick coat of hair on their body which yields good quality wool in large quantities
- They are specially chosen to give birth to sheep which have only soft under-hair.
- This process of selecting parents for obtaining special characters in their offspring is termed ‘selective breeding’.
Processing fibres into wool
Step 1 – Shearing
- The fleece of the sheep along with a thin layer of skin is removed from its body
- The hair is usually removed during the hot weather
- The hair provides woollen fibres, they are processed to obtain woollen yearn
Step 2 – Scouring
- The sheared skin with hair is thoroughly washed in tanks to remove grease, dust and dirt
Step 3 – Sorting
- Hair of different textures are separated or sorted.
- The small fluffy fibres, called burrs, are picked out from the hair
- The fibres are scoured again and dried. They are ready to be drawn into fibres
Step 5 – Dyeing
- The natural fleece of sheep and goats is black, brown or white.
- The fibres can be dyed in various colours in this stage
- The fibres are straightened, combed and rolled into yarn
Occupational hazard while rearing sheep