Monday, October 05, 2009

Shearing Mohair

Angora goats grow 1 inch of lustrous, mohair fiber each month. They need to be sheared twice a year -- Spring and Fall. Ian, our second son, and his lovely bride, Miranda, arrived on Saturday afternoon to shear our angora goats. It was less than an hour after the clean up from the workshop. They were set up and shearing within 20 minutes and 13 goats had their haircut before dark.

On Sunday we got the last of the 47 angoras sheared. We worked as an efficient tag team. I stayed in the house making meals -- shearing is a hungry job and 3 meals plus snacks are required by the shearing team.

Miranda got the goats and posed them for the picture to be taken. Sarah swept the shearing board between animals, labeled the bags to receive the fleeces and gathered the fleece, as well as oiling the shearing machine when it got hot. Ian sheared the goat and then passed it to Robin for hoof trimming, vitamin shots (selenium and vitamin E, of which we are deficient) and Robin also took the pictures. Miranda returned the goat to the barn and retrieved the next one for the shearing.

We now have each fleece bagged, labeled and weighed. Wow! They'll be up on the website in the next week or so, check back.

The angora fleeces are lovely. No matted adult fleeces this year. Few parasites. And not too much vm, since they were on pasture all summer until just two weeks ago. The coloured angora is soft, long, flowing and shiny. Perfect for doll's hair. Perfect for spinning into novelty yarns. In fact, perfect for running your fingers through and dreaming of the possibilities.

We didn't get to shear the lambs. With the rain last week we had to choose who to keep locked in the barn and dry -- there wasn't room for all 104 animals to be content for two days in the barn. So the sheep and lambs were allowed to go to pasture in the daytime and just put in the barns (there's two barns) to sleep. Yesterday was sunny and clear so the sheep are dry now, but Ian and Miranda left today to shear in Slocan Valley. They'll be back in a month, but for now they are off to New Brunswick for Miranda's grandfather's birthday.

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