We started shearing angora goats this week. Unfortunately two of the yearlings that we sheared were already matted--nothing salvageable. We were 2 weeks too late. Angora goats are so finicky with their fine fleeces that if you don't get them off in time they start to felt right on the animal. We only managed to shear a few and the shearer went home. Granted he is coming back in April, but I didn't realized that the goats were already matted. He decided not to change his plans to stay an extra day to shear the goats.
So there are still 27 goats to be sheared plus sheep. Sigh. We may be shearing them ourselves or trashing the whole clip. In times like this I seriously want to quit farming all together. The same thing happened last Fall when the shearing was split into two sessions a month apart. We trashed a few fleeces then, too.
When we first got angora goats we clipped their coats ourselves using scissors. It took 3 hours per animal and we could only manage a couple hours at a time before the goat was too stressed to keep going. But it is an option if their coats start to matt before the shearer comes back in 5 weeks -- which is highly probable. Being dependent on the good will of other people for the success or failure of your farming venture is ... what should I say...stressful, stupid, insane. We need to find a better way.
In the meantime I am washing up mohair locks from the Fall clip for the Vernon Spin In. So far I've done a black kid fleece -- luscious 4 inch locks and so soft. Its hard to part with some of these fleeces, but I don't have time to spin them all. Today I'll wash up a mocha fleece, one handful at a time to keep the locks intact. The intense shine on these fleeces is fantastic.