My two Angora goats, Eddie and Ely, are only five months old, but they have grown enough mohair that they are about ready for their first shearing. I’m going to do it. Yes, I know, this is a big undertaking for a beginner, but I am intrepid and perhaps stupid as well.
Before I could embark on this mission, I knew I needed a good sturdy table with a way to tie the goats so they don’t jump off. My husband could make one, but he worried that it would be too heavy to ever move so I went ahead and purchased a folding metal table this week. It wasn’t cheap, but all the notes I’ve read indicate that it makes everything so much easier.
I set up the new table in the goat pasture and turned to get them some peanuts to lure them up onto it and teach them to stand still. When I returned, I discovered that no luring was going to be required. They were already battling to see who could get up there first!
I figured out how to secure their heads in the holder and used my new hoof shears to trim all their hooves. I’d watched the breeder do it and read my books so I had a pretty good idea how and I think it went well. They really needed it.
So, now that they understand that they can stand patiently on the table and they’ll get lots of peanuts as a reward, I am working up to upcoming shearing. I thought I’d put them up on the table with the shearing tool running just to get them comfortable with the buzz, and then the next time I’ll actually do the deed. I need to come up with a scissors to trim off the hair around their rear ends where poop pellets like to swing in the breeze. Sounds kind of gross, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it.
Last weekend, we attended the Michigan Fiber Fest up in Allegan. We watched the youth showing their Angora goats – from 18-year-olds to a sweet little tyke who could hardly control his animal. I was pleased to see that my goats look pretty much like all the others so I must not be doing anything terribly wrong.
We also got to watch a sheep shearing demo. Man, those sheep are BIG! I don’t think I’d try to wrangle one down onto the floor to shear but the guy who was doing it was able to flip his sheep this way and that so that he got the whole job done in about five minutes. I’m sure my experience will be vastly more clumsy.