A few weekends ago a friend and I volunteered our novice services to a local fiber farm. They needed hands to help out with shearing their angora and pygora goats, and it turns out they’re not opposed to that help being inexperienced. So off we went, ready to get dirty.
It turns out that goats (and alpacas too) are pretty curious and have short memories when it comes to the shearing equipment. We brought in the shearing tables, and they climbed all over them and inspected all of the parts. It was relatively easy to convince the first few participants that they’d like to hang out on the tables in exchange for some treats. By the time we got around to the last couple of goats, they were fairly wise to what was going down and absolutely wanted no part of it – treats or no treats, thank you very much.
In the beginning we were extremely slow and very cautious with the scissors. Our job was to come along behind the electric shears, gathering the fleece, and to trim up the legs, underside, face, and bib. By the time the day was over, we were old hands – nabbing unwilling goats, and trimming the hair from their wiggly bodies with a minimum of fuss. And boy were we tired! It takes a lot to wrangle and shear eight full sized goats, even with electric shears and two pairs of hands per animal.
Afterward we were treated to a tour of the alpaca barn. I got a curious sniff and a kiss from this brand new little guy.
Nice way to end a hard day’s work, isn’t it?