Abundance Farms had a brand new experience this Fall! SHEARING! Ok, some of you are thinking “uhmmm…you sheared a few goats this Spring, didn’t you?”…well…yes! And we hated it! So, we hired a shearer from Homestead Heritage to come and tend our goat fuzz. Over the course of two days, our goat herd transformed from majestic, huge, fuzzy, gorgeous goats to….
Small…kinda patchy…things…ok, I have to admit, the little doe above is pretty cute either way! Not having all the hair seems to suit her (side note: she is a Navajo Angora, hence the lack of hair on her legs and face).
In preparation for the shearer, we had a few tasks. First, we needed to corral them all in a small pen so that we would not be chasing goats all morning. Our method? Feed! Lure them into the small pen with feed and then close the gate behind ya. Next, I had a few materials that I wanted to have on hand. First aid items, deworming medications, ear tags, plastic bags, scissors, and markers. The plastic bags and markers were the most important part for the shearing process itself. As soon as a goat was shorn, I would write their ear tag number on a plastic bag, roll up the fleece, and then put it in said plastic bag. The shearer recommended that I skirt the fleece before bagging it, but he quickly found out that I’m incredibly slow at skirting. So, my task for the next week is to skirt fleeces. Or find someone who can do it for me. Or teach me.
It was interesting to find out that our friendliest goats were the ones that struggled the most during the shearing process. Our WILD goats, however, stayed perfectly still and hardly made a noise. I felt a little worried when I first met our shearer. My idea of a shearer is based off of a very old black and white documentary I saw. The shearer was a large brute of a man who looked like he just finished working on something greasy (think…car mechanic). This black-and-white guy on TV was rippling with muscle and could have easily wrestled a rhino to the ground.
Well. My image of what a shearer should look like was quickly blown. Our shearer stepped out of his truck and was indeed quite small. No rippling muscle. Clean. Nice shirt. I looked at the shearer. I looked at Ramses (our brown Angora buck).
Once again, I was a wee bit worried. But you know what? Our shearer got it done (with some assistance from my own big, rippling with muscle husband, John…or as I have been calling him lately, “Johnny-Boe-Bear”). Over the course of one day, a blade sharpening, and then a second day, all of our goats had been shorn! WITH the exception of one. At the Thanksgiving fair at Homestead Heritage, our shearer will be doing a demonstration of shearing using one of our Navajo Angora does.
We’re looking forward to being able to be a service to Homestead Heritage by supplying a goat for their shearing demonstration. While the shearing process was a little bit stressful, we were happy to not be doing it alone and we’re ecstatic about all the bagged mohair in my office! Stay tuned to see how far I get in processing some of this hair.