High Desert Shearing

about High desert shearing

Based out of Doyle, California, High Desert Shearing offers considerate, small flock shearing for sheep and goats throughout Northern Nevada including: Reno, Virginia City, Washoe Valley, Carson City, Gardnerville, Fernley, and Fallon; as well as Lassen, Sierra and Plumas Counties in California.

Sarah Lillegard was trained in the New Zealand method of shearing through the UCCE Mendocino Sheep Shearing School held at the Hopland Extension and Research Center (Hopland, CA). Both the school and the New Zealand method emphasize efficiency and animal well-being while maintaining fleece quality.

In addition to shearing, Sarah is an active participant in the region's wool and fiber community. She's a member of the Reno Fiber Guild; a writer and photographer for Fibershed; and a fiber-based artist, teaching workshops on wool spinning, embroidery, and natural dyeing.


"We belong because we are part of the work of this place." James Rebanks, A Shepherd's Life

I grew up in Gardnerville, Nevada and moved to Reno after finishing college in rural Eastern Washington. After ten years in the “biggest little”, I moved to a property in Doyle, California that is home to Great Basin Pottery and soon my own small flock of sheep.

I became interested in sheep shearing through working with wool and learning about the legacy of sheep ranching in the American West. By shearing, I am able to help support both the wool industry and regional flocks as well as play a small part in maintaining the viability of raising and grazing small ruminants in this area.







Small/Tiny flockS

High Desert Shearing currently handles flocks ranging from 1–30. 


The shearing season usually runs late January to late June, weather depending. Availability can't be guaranteed outside of this timeframe. 


Flock owner: Shearing Day Prep

In order for shearing to go smoothly and effectively, there are a handful of preparations the flock owner needs to make ahead of time.
My pricing is contingent on these recommendations. If you are unable to fulfill some of them, let me know ahead of time and we'll see what can be worked out.

  1. Sheep need to be off of food and water for a minimum of 12 hours prior to shearing and not fed again until after they are shorn. For the New Zealand style of shearing, having a full stomach is very uncomfortable for the sheep and can cause them to have difficulty breathing.
  2. Sheep need to be completely dry for shearing. If there is a chance of precipitation or even dew, please keep them in a barn or fully covered/enclosed area prior to shearing.
  3. Prior to the shearer arriving, the sheep should be enclosed in a small pen near the shearing area. Essentially the smaller the better. This will ease in catching the sheep and speed up the overall shearing.
  4. Necessary for the shearing area: access to electricity; a flat, level area (can be cement, wood, or dirt); preferably shaded if outside.  
  5. During the actual shearing, the owner (or other responsible party) needs to be on hand. The shearer should not be left alone in the field without help if she needs it.
  6. Please note: I am not a veterinarian and cannot administer vaccines. If you are planning on vaccinating, hoof trimming, etc on shearing day, let me know so we can coordinate workflow. 


Small flock shearing involves a lot of work for fewer animals, as compared to a large flock commercial shearer. With each small flock, I approach the job with professionalism taking into consideration the needs of the animals, as well as those of the flock owners. All of this is factored into my pricing.


$50 Set-up fee 

This is the minimum charge. If I arrive and shearing cannot happen due to conditions like the sheep not being properly penned or wet, the set-up fee will still be charged. (Please see shearing day recommendations.)


$8–16 per head

This depends on breed, gender, age, condition, and growth of wool (over a year's growth is more).



Travel/Mileage Fee

Mileage fees are set on an individual basis based on location. Once a mileage fee is determined, I will continue to honor it for future shearing jobs with you.




Cash (preferred)
Credit Card (with a 3% processing fee)
No Checks



Shearing Job: Quote & scheduling

If you are interested in scheduling a shearing date, please submit the form below. I will respond promptly with a quote for your flock and potential shearing dates.

name *
needed for mileage and travel time
please include breed and numbers of ewes/rams/wethers/lambs to be shorn
what days of the week, times or specific dates would you prefer


For questions or more information, please contact me through the form below or email highdesert.shearingatgmaildotcom. If you would like to schedule a shearing appointment, please complete this form to speed up the process.