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Old 03-16-2011, 09:30 PM   #1
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Default angora shearing questions

hi! i have a pair of old shears from the farm. they are in great condition and sharp as anything. but i'm a newbie to angora's and i'm nervous about shearing them. i want to do it myself. i was wondering if anyone had any tips for shearing. if y'all could share your tips or advice it would be much appreciated. and what do you use to shear? depending on how my hand shearing goes and prices i might look at new clippers.
thanks!



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Old 03-17-2011, 11:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: angora shearing questions

i just got them today. they have really nasty butts... i'm not sure if this is just how they are or what. should i clip their butt a little? its like hair and excrement... total ew!

and under their chins are so icky, wet and has a bunch of hay right there. can i keep trimming it right there during the year to keep it from getting nasty. i was thinking if its okay to trim that then i could use the short clippings to make dollhair and stuff. i have a few ideas...

anyone???



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Old 03-18-2011, 03:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: angora shearing questions

here is a link to a page that sells hand shears that look like new versions of the pair i have:
http://www.ivorys.com/sheep_shearing_hand_shears.htm

i will be using them for my first shearing.
can anyone give me some shearing tips or links to helpful pages?
thanks!

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Old 03-24-2011, 06:40 PM   #4
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Default Re: angora shearing questions

Hi, I had an angora (years, and years ago), now I have cashmere goats. Yes, you do have to keep certain areas trimmed to promote good health in your goats, you don't want the dirty areas to persist, it can get pretty nasty. Go ahead and cut all that away, it's not good fiber anyway. Put your clippings in areas were the birds can pick at it for nesting material, (like the "crook" of a tree) they'll love it. Before you shear, whether hand or clipper, go ahead and clip all the extra dirty areas, then try to pick out as much vm as possible, you can use a blower (I used a compressor hose with the air sprayer thingy), some vacuums have a blower that may be powerfuly enough. Be gentle with the fiber. You will probably need help, unless they are very tame goats. I laid out a plastic tarp and had a helper hold the goat will I sheared. They will jump at first, but, soon they learn it feels so good they will stand for it. Keep your fiber picked up as you go, seperate the good from the not so good as you go. I've heard people say to shear with the lay of the coat, not against it. Harder then it sounds. And be sure to leave an inch or so on the goat, so they don't get sun burned while it grows back.

In the future, remember that your fiber is going to be as clean as your pasture, so keeping the "nasties" out of the fields will promote cleaner fiber. Makes the job alot easier next year.

Congrats on the new additions, hope you get more info, it's been awhile, but generally speaking what works for one fiber goat works for most.

Oh, watch out for "second" cuts, cut once, gather up the wool, then if you need to "pretty" them up, do some more trimming. You don't want those second cut short fiber in your fleece. Good luck!

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Old 03-24-2011, 07:14 PM   #5
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Default Re: angora shearing questions

Well, I used to shear goats for people professionally, but it's kind of hard to describe on the internet.

For the hand shears you've got, I recommend to restrain the goat in a chute or if you have a milk stand, lock the goat's head in the stand, or if you have a fitting stand, lock the goat's head in that. You need to be really careful with those shears - Angoras have skin like tissue paper. It's very easy to cut them (but not the end of the world if you just cut them a little, so don't worry - just be careful). If you pull on the hair to try and see the skin, you're going to pull the skin right into the shear. DON'T pull on the fiber, and if you lift it, do it gently so as not to accidentally pull the skin into the shear.

Funny thing is, electric sheep shears, with goat combs, are much safer than the hand shears you've got! When you are clipping off the tags (that's what they call that mess at the back end) it's almost impossible to tell where the skin is... try and keep the shear flat against the skin. Go slow. Don't expect to get it all done in a day, although of course you can. But it's OK if you need to take longer so take as long as you need.

Here's a site with the shearing blows laid out for you, for I suggest in this instance to use the go-down method of shearing: http://www.acga.org.au/goatnotes/F005.php.

For an Angora goat, brushing might make your fiber unbelievable fluffy and hard to deal with. You might be better off just shearing off the locks, and then cleaning it after.

A good Angora will grow fiber at the rate of 1/4" per week! They actually need to be shorn twice a year. If you grow it for specialty purposes (for doll hair or something) you can let part grow for a whole year - usually this would be the fiber on the underside of the neck. As far as the mess under the goat's chin, some goats just get like that no matter what you do but usually, shearing twice a year and keeping the water and pen clean help out with that a LOT.

Good luck! Angoras are sweet goats.



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