Owners of just a few sheep are flocking to join a new cooperative, which was set up on social media last month.
The Rodney Wool Co-operative group was started by rural resident Tracey Feisst on Facebook to bring together those who own small flocks as pets or to keep the grass down.
Tracey has two sheep and says once they were shorn, she didn’t know what to do with the wool. In the past she has tried composting it or giving it away but says in reality most of it got dumped, which was wasteful.
“I hated having to throw my fleeces in the tip because they have no commercial value,” Tracey says.
A chat with a friend who had the same problem with her alpaca wool led Tracey to look for ways to find people who need wool, such as spinners and knitters.
“I want to connect owners of woolly animals and consumers of wool,” Tracey says. She hopes the group, which gained 32 members the day after it started, will also be a source of general support where members can share and solve problems.
Tracey says that people are already trading fleeces via the page, and it could also prove valuable to the wider community.
“For example, apparently fleece is good for the garden, so if the cooperative could gather enough unusable fleece, maybe we could barter with a market gardener and trade fleece for produce which could go back to the animals’ owners, or somehow be distributed to people in need or schools,” she says.
Another idea is to convince the local spinners and knitters to put aside a percentage of what they get to make booties for babies in hospital.