Due to an exceptionally warm February, we were able to get our bred angora does and bred Shetland ewes sheared on Saturday. The angora goats know what is up, and will glare at me as they await shearing their turn.
After we get started they generally relax, and it only takes about 10 minutes or less per goat. The fleeces came off very easily and were exceptionally clean this year.
After shearing we put sheep coats on the goats to help them stay warm. They also have heat lamps in their shelter.
The Shetland ewes tend to be very relaxed about being sheared (once caught that is). This year was very unusual in that all the adult Shetland ewes were already "on the rise." The rise is thought to be caused by changing seasons. During the winter, the wool growth slows down, causing a weak spot in the staple of the wool locks. In the spring, when wool growth resumes, the old wool thins and weakens where the new growth begins. Shetland sheep are best sheared slightly before or just when the rise is starting; shearing must be carefully timed to get the best quality fleeces.
The adult Shetland fleeces already well skirted, but will be given a final skirting before being used in our yarns and rovings, or sold as grease fleece.
The adult Shetland ewes were all snug in their barn this morning. The sheared goats were still wearing their coats. And everyone is looking very well. We'll be shearing last years lambs and kids, plus the Jacob sheep flock later in March and April.