Shearing refers to the cutting or shaving of the wool off a sheep. This does not hurt the animal, it is just like getting a hair cut. Sheep should be sheared at least once a year or they may become very stressed and uncomfortable. Today the majority of sheep are sheared with electric shears, although up until the beginning of the 20th century farmers would manually shear their sheep using hand shears (pictured above). Hand shears consist of two blades arranged similar to scissors except the hinge is at the furthest end from the point (not in the middle). Hand shears leave more wool on the sheep compared to the more modern electric shears. This would be beneficial for farmers who live in colder climates as freshly sheared sheep need more feed to help maintain their body heat. The wool taken from the sheep would then be cleaned, spun and made into a number of different items around the home including clothing and blankets.