Winter Shearing

We usually shear the goats in the spring and the fall.  This time shearing was very early because Cynthia Lurex has several ewes that are scheduled to kid early this month and getting them sheared beforehand is such a good idea.  Cynthia is the breeder of two of my goats, Shakespeare and Chaucer, and lives just ten miles down the road from me.  She is also the one who put me onto my shearer, Stephen Franco and he shears for both of us when he makes the trek to the Houston area.  So for good reason we sheared very early this spring.

Last night, with all my goats nearly hairless, the temperature was supposed to drop to 32 degrees.  Yes, that qualifies as winter in these parts!  Actually, I'm fairly confident that Fitz and Fly are laughing at all the other goats for suddenly being hairless.  I'm sure the other goats laughed at Fitz and Fly when they came here for the same thing.  I've put up a fence to keep the little buggers from jumping up on my hay but still providing them access to the stalls in the barn and the shelter in their goat pen so they have several places to snuggle down in the hay and keep warm in the night.

I try not to laugh at the goats but they do look pretty silly.  They spend the vast majority of their lives looking like they just got back from the hairdresser with a new perm except for a few days twice a year when they look like concentration camp victims with no hair.  It's even hard to recognize them.  Their color is different and it looks like they lost a hundred pounds each.  In a couple of weeks they will have grown back enough hair to stop looking silly.

While he was shearing, Stephen and I talked about the Wool/Mohair Warehouse in San Angelo.  They buy wool and mohair from producers here in Texas.  They will only take white, not any of the various colors that are so popular among us small producers.  When you take in fiber, they will grade it for a fee and then pay whatever the going rate is for that grade of fiber.  I'm thinking about taking in my backlog of white mohair.  This does sort of counter the argument that I really need all these goats to keep producing mohair for my use which is a conversation my husband and I have already had.  It's not that I wouldn't use all the fiber that I have, it's a matter of forcing myself to sit down and pick all the burrs and grass and other vegetable matter out of the fleeces before they go off to be processed.  I think if I could make the backlog go away I might be able to keep up with the fleeces every 6 months when they are sheared.  So I'll call the warehouse tomorrow and find out what the rules are, when they are open, etc.  We may be making a day trip to San Angelo sometime soon.