Worksafe (previously OSH) recommends that sheep are fasted prior to shearing to:

  • Reduce the risk of manual handling injuries from lifting heavy full sheep.
  • Reduce the risk of shearers tripping on slippery floors.
  • Reduce the chances of workers contracting leptospirosis from urine spray.
  • Reduce pen staining of wool.

Recommended fasting times in hours

Note:  Exceeding these maximum times may trigger metabolic problems, especially in pregnant animals.  Pregnant hoggets need special care.  Unweaned lambs should stay with their mothers until the ewes enter the shearing shed.

 Age group Min – no feed   Max – no feed    Min- no water Max – no water  
 non preg/non lact
 18  32  12  24
 late preg/lact.  18  30  12  24
 non preg/non lact
 18  30  12  24
 late preg/lact.
 12 24 20 
 pre wean
 6 24  20 
 weaned  12 24  20