Robotic Sheep Shearing

This contraption was made in the late 80’s, expressly for shearing sheep. For some reason, it never really took off. We’re guessing because it takes forever and still requires a person to wrangle the sheep on to the holding rack. Having that person just shear the sheep themselves might be much quicker. We think they need to refine it a bit. It should be fast, and not require a person to load it. Maybe something like a modified version of this.

46 thoughts on “Robotic Sheep Shearing

  1. Holy crap that thing is ridiculously complicated. That arm itself has a huge number of DOF and the whole thing is slower than a human.

    Waaaaaaaaaaay overengineered

  2. amazing, that machine is a thing of beauty. i felt a little bad for the sheep though. poor thing must’ve been scared silly, but it didnt look like it was getting hurt

  3. Wow… I’m certainly not an animal leftist by any means, but that is just mean. A human can do the job in under 2 minutes and the sheep doesn’t have to be strapped into a rack the whole time. By all means, shear the sheep, but at least get it over with quickly.

  4. As someone who has experience in shearing sheep, let me just say:


    That is the most frightening and inhumane and pointless device I have ever witnessed.

    #1 The sheep are already unhappy about being sheared. I cannot imagine the terror of that animal.

    #2 It seems far slower than doing it yourself.


  5. WTF This has to be the most aweful thing i have seen, i mean im not a peta member and i eat ALOT of meat, but that thing is fucking horrible. I hope the inventers of this die a slow horrible death.

  6. As someone who has shorn a sheep, that has to be a joke. By the time you have strapped her in that thing, a real shearer could have easily done one and had a cuppa.
    Another thing, a shearer typically travels from farm to farm, shearing on location. One immobile robot couldn’t shear enough sheep to be worth it’s while.

  7. Wow if that thing has a sensor go bad I would hate to see what would happen to the poor sheep. To make sure it is safe the designers should have to have their heads immobilized in a clamping system and get a brush cut from the system. If they would do that I am thinking that it is then safe.

  8. For all that effort you’d think it would at least knit a sweater while it’s at it.

    @orkie: Agreed. Wouldn’t take much modification at all for a malevolent cyborg dog to convert this to a Mutton-O-Matic.

  9. An interesting proof that engineering isnt always the solution to every problem! While its an interesting problem, shearing a sheep robotically, it just begs the question “why?”. As an exercise in robotics – fair enough, but dont use a real sheep. As a real product? Surely the consequence of too little time in the real world. I’d love to know the answer!

  10. Im sure peta is already busy enough killing stray animals to care. : D

    On another note, that tree extractor would not suit the sheep as it would probably take the limbs of the sheep off with it <.<

  11. I like the way it carefully and slowly shears around the sheep’s belly button. I would assume it took a few ‘trials’ to get that done right without unzipping the poor test subject accidentally.

  12. I grew up on a sheep farm, and once we had the shearer set up, we could finish our herd (250 sheep) in about two and a half to three hours — counting the time it took to bag the wool and get the next sheep ready.

  13. Are you guys serious about all this “cruelty”?

    Nothing like a bunch of inexperienced people to be critical of a process that went pretty smooth compared to what could have happened.

    This shearing went pretty damn well for that sheep; a lot of shears can be rough and the sheep can get nicks in their skin that bleed for a while. It certainly went a hell of a lot faster/cleaner than non-electric blade shears would have.

    Here’s a bit more info:

    /has participated in sheep shearing and seen bad things compared to this. This shearing was pretty damn slow, but the way the machine kept the cutter floating above the skin was pretty awesome looking, to me.

  14. What the fuck!

    That is the worst thing I have seen for a long time.

    Please tell me Hackaday didn’t put this up because they thought it was cool!

    I cannot believe humans disrespect for animals sometimes!

    Someone needs to BAN this.

  15. holy sheep sheer batman. that is ridiculous and damn scary to watch. I can imagine what that sheep is thinking. something along the lines of holy truck.

  16. Oh my, what a horrid thing to watch. Shows how you can make the coolest contraptions for pretty hideous stuff.

    That treecutter is awesome, though. I’d like to drive one, except the guys who get to do it have to cut trees all day and that would be _boooring_.

  17. I’m not sure this is as much automatic shearing as it is remote shearing.
    At 4:59 in the clip you can see what might be the hand-held control device.
    Given the complexities of the task and the age of the video, it wouldn’t surprise me if the robot shear was just mimicking the movements of the contoling humans hand-held “mouse”.

  18. im not a big animal right activist. in fact some things might just be funny some times but this shit is wicked … the sheep must be stressed as hell ! i can only imagine doing this to a human … pretty fucked up right !?

  19. @ dopplershift – (if it’s the same machine) A few years ago I actually worked for one of the guys who made it. He told us a fair few stories about it. From the video it actually worked better than I thought. :)

  20. haha that is scary as all hell,

    the sheep looks like its sedated thank god, or scared to death, or actually dead, LOL. AND oh my god is that thing slow. nice idea but just not cost effective im sure, let alone the possible ethics? does do a clean job thou.

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