May 27, 2008

Shearing Day

Despite the odd weather patterns and woes that have plagued our attempts at shearing this spring, I am proud to say shearing is 1 Angora away from being complete. Luckily the weather co-operated with me today (no rain) to shear all the does. We had sheared Copper Top (herd sire) about two weeks ago during a dry spell.

Beau the wether is the only poor soul left wearing his winter fleece. He is a tad bit fidgety for me to handle alone. I am concerned I would have difficulties keeping him still while maneuvering the large Clipmaster and might cut him. Better safe than sorry, he will just have to wait until I can recruit an assistant or the next time Jim is home.

In the past with only having 2-3 to shear, I used scissors. It was a bit tedious, but hey it worked. Now having the proper equipment it went so smoothly. Surprisingly the girls didn’t fight me as much as I had expected. They only objected to the noise and airflow coming from the shears when I was working close to their faces. Animal crackers are excellent as a bribe to take their mind off of things.

Although I have gained a small amount of experience in the past few years, I wanted to make sure we are shearing correctly and refresh my memory. I did more research on proper techniques of shearing. We purchased a shearing DVD, watched a couple videos on line, plus we talked to a friend who is a sheep farmer.

I always felt the goats should not be treated like the sheep. The sheep are rolled around every which way, sat on their rumps, turned on their sides, at times seems like they are turned upside down on their ears. That is not the way to handle the goats. Jim likes to lay them on their sides and shear that way. It seemed to me that method stressed them also. I decided to try a shearing method where the goats are standing, using one of our milk stanchions. The drawing below is basically how I did it today.

I was able to shear each doe within a 20-minute time frame. The fleece came off in one piece; there were no second clips, which I was extremely proud of. There are a few uneven splotches but nothing that was not corrected with scissors for them to look presentable.

Happy, happy, joy, joy! Such a good day it was. Enjoying the sense of accomplishment and relief that shearing is complete. The girls are extremely happy, comfortable and ready for the 90 something degree temps they are forecasting later this week.

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