Describe the series of steps involved in the extraction of wool.


Extraction of wool is the process to produce from the fleece or hairs of mammalian animals of which are mostly found in colder regions like yak, sheep, etc. The animals which have hairs on their bodies are known as mammals. The fleece (hairs) on the body of sheep is having two types of fibres. These two types of fibres are: (1) Coarse beard hairs and (2) soft fine under hairs near the skin. These soft fine hairs near the skin used as fibres to produce wool.

Figure1: Various breed of sheep

Joseph Mischyshyn, Rathbaun Farm - Various breeds of sheep - - 1632174, CC BY-SA 2.0

Various Sheep with Fleece used for the production of Wool

Some sheep breeds contains only soft under hair. The parents of these sheep mostly like to reproduce this kind of sheep which having soft fine under hair. The process of parents to select having some unique characters into their descendants like the sheep having fine under hair is known as selective breeding. Various kinds of sheep breeds are found in various parts of our country.

The source of wool is not only the fleece of sheep, but mostly the wool available in market is generally the sheep wool. Yak wool is commonly seen in Ladakh and Tibet. The Angora goat which is generally found in hilly areas like Jammu and Kashmir can produce Mohair. The wool can also produce from the goat fur.

The famous Pashmina shawl in Kashmir is made up of soft under fur of Kashmiri goat. The hair from the body of camel is also used in the production of wool. The South American breeds like Alpaca and Llama are also used to produce wool.

How do sheep breeds and rears to produce wool?

The sheep get reared to obtained wool. The sheep fleece or hair gets cut and processed by various steps to obtain wool. It has been seen that the marshals are taking the sheep herds for grazing around the grassy grounds in the hilly areas of our country like Sikkim, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir, also in the plains of Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat, and Haryana. The mammals like sheep, goat, llama, etc. are herbivorous animals which mostly survive on green leaves and grasses.

The sheep are also fed oil cakes, corn, pulses, minerals, and jowar. Oil cakes are made up of raw materials which can produce oil after certain processing with the left over part of seeds of oil cakes. In cold, the sheep get fed grains, dry fodder, and leaves and kept inside the house. To obtain wool from the sheep, they are reared in various parts of our country. Different breed of sheep in different regions of country produces different variety or quality of wool. Some sheep breeds have thick hair coating which can produce good quality of wool, like the Lohi sheep found in Rajasthan and Punjab can produce good quality wool. Rampur Bushair found in Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh produce brown fleece. Nali a breed of sheep found in Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan produces carpet wool. Bakharwal sheep breeds found in Jammu and Kashmir produces wool which is used in making shawls. Marwari sheep found in Gujarat produces coarse wool and Patanwadi sheep also found in Gujarat which produce wool to use in hosiery.

The sheep when have complete hair growth gets cut the hair or fleece to produce wool.

Extraction and process of sheep hair Fibres into Wool

The production of wool from the raw hairy fibres of sheep is a quite long process after which we get wool for knitting shawls and sweaters and for the use of various other purposes. The following are the steps for production of the fibre from sheep hair to wool as folllows −


The sheep hairs or fleece are removed with a thin skin layer from their body is known as shearing. The shearing is done using a machine to remove hairs like the barber used to shave. Generally, the sheep fleeces are removed during summer weather so that the sheep can survive without its protective hair coatings. This sheep fleeces provide fibres of wool which are further processed to produce yarn. The sheep does not get hurts during shearing as they have the uppermost dead skin layer and the hair grows again after shearing.

Figure 2: Shearing of sheep

  • Scouring: The sheared skin of sheep is now washed thoroughly in big tanks to clean off dirt, grease, dust, etc. are known as scouring. Now a days scouring is done with the use of machines.

  • Sorting: Sorting is done after the scouring. In this step different texture of hairs are sorted or separated in a factory. The skin with hair after washing are sent to a factory process.

  • The tiny fluffy hairs are picked out from the hairs are known as Burrs. Then the fibres again are scoured and afterwards dried. This wool is ready to convert into the fibres.

  • The fleeces of goat and sheep have natural colour like white, black, and brown. Thus in this step the fibres of wool are dyed into various other colours.

  • Finally the wool fibres get levelled or straight, combed, and lastly rolled into woollen yarn. The sweaters are made with the long yarns while the woven woollen materials and spun is made with short woollen fibres.


Wool is the fabric produced with the hairs or fleeces of animals reside in cold region like goat, sheep, yak, llama, Angora goat, etc. There are various breed of sheep are found in various region of our country which produce different quality of wool.

To obtain wool fibres there is a need of rearing and breeding of sheep and other similar animals. The extraction and processing of wool is a long process which include various steps like shearing, scouring, sorting, dyeing, rolling, etc.


Q1. What is Wool?

Ans. Wool is a type of fabric from which the woollen clothes are made to use in winters. Basically wool fibre is obtained from the hairs or fleece of cold region animals like sheep, yak, etc.

Q2. Which animals produce wool fibres?

Ans. The animals surviving in cold regions like goat, sheep, yak, angora goat, llama, alpaca, etc. are the animal which produce wool fibres.

Q3. How does wool extracted from animals?

Ans. There are various steps of wool extraction including shearing of hairs, scouring, sorting, dyeing and rolling, to get good quality textured wool for use.

Q4. What is shearing?

Ans. The removal of the hairs or fleece of sheep with its thin skin layer to get fabric for wool is known as shearing.

Q5. What is scouring?

Ans. Scouring is the process which is done after shearing of sheep hairs, in which the hairs with skin layer gets washed into big tanks or machines to remove dirt of it.

Q6. What is sorting of wool?

Ans. Sorting is to sort long and small sheep hair to obtain wool fibre.

Updated on: 26-Apr-2023


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