Fibres obtained from animals are - wool and silk.
Animal Fibre: Wool: Wool comes mostly from sheep. It was the first fibre to be spun into yarn, and it provides more warmth than other animal fibres.
Animals that Yield Wool: Apart from sheep, wool also comes from the angora goat, yak, llama, alpaca, and even camels. All these animals have a thick coat of hair or fleece, which keeps them warm. Wool is obtained from this fleece.
Sheep Rearing: different breeds of sheep that are reared in different parts of our country to obtain wool.
Selective Breeding: Selective breeding is a process of selecting the parents for obtaining special characters in the offspring. Selective breeding is done to have sheep with soft hair.
The Nali and Lohi breeds are found in Rajasthan and Punjab, the Rampur bushair in Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, and the Bakharwal in Jammu and Kashmir. Gujarat breeds the Marwari and Patanwadi sheep.
Each breed yields wool used for different purposes.
- Nali breed wool is used to make carpet wool.
- Patanwadi wool is used for hosiery.
- Lohi wool is of very good quality, and is used for making clothes.
- Bakharwal wool is used for shawls.
Processing Fibres into Wool: The process of making fibres into wool follows – shearing, scouring, sorting, cleaning of burrs, dyeing, straightening, combing and finally rolling into yarn.
Shearing: Shearing is the first step in processing fibre into wool. It is the removal of the fleece of the sheep along with a thin layer of the skin.
Scouring: Scouring is the process of washing the sheared skin with hair. The woollen fibres are thoroughly washed in big tanks to remove grease, dust and dirt by fully mechanized machines.
Sorting: Sorting is done after scouring to separate hair of different textures and types. This is to separate the low and good quality fibres.
Dyeing: Picking out of any remaining burrs (small fluffy fibres) is followed by the dyeing of fibres in various colours.
Straightening, Combing and Rolling: Once the dyeing process is complete, the fibres are straightened, combed and rolled into yarn. Longer fibres are made into wool for sweaters, while the shorter fibres are spun and woven into woollen cloth.
Occupational Hazards: Workers in wool industry face occupational hazards. Risks that can be life threatening to workers due to their occupation are called occupational hazards. They get infected by a bacterium called anthrax, which causes a fatal blood disease called sorter’s disease.