Early Fall Shearing
You may remember that we sheared the goats very early last spring. February 1st, to be exact. So here it is July and the goats are in full coat. And it's hot. And humid. So far, the temperatures continue to drop into the 70's at night which is a good thing. During those heat waves where the temperature at night remains in the 80's, I'm out there setting up our huge fan so the animals can get some relief. And that's assuming they are not wearing full coats of fleece.
As I said last spring, I'm not in control of when the goats get sheared. I'm a very small fish in this pond when it comes to the number of goats I have. Cynthia Lurex, who lives up the road from me is the big fish. I'm not sure how large her herd it right now but it's at least 10 or 15 times larger than mine so she sets the dates. Her herd is suffering from the heat just like mine so she has called in the shearer.
We touched base on Wednesday this week and Stephen Franco was expected here on Thursday. This has come up very quickly but I'm fine with that. During this time of lockdown/stay at home/stay safe I'm here and not really going anywhere else. Whenever he can get here is great.
Beyond putting the goats in the barn I had one other task. We cleaned out the stalls last week. That means mucking out all the dirty hay and taking it all out to the burn pile. This gets done about once a year. The stalls are usually pretty full of dirty hay, pee soaked hay and goat berries. This year was no different. We keep adding fresh hay on top of the old throughout the year whenever the animals will be in stalls for more than a few minutes so it adds up.
Yesterday morning I was out there bright and early spreading hay in two of the stalls. Fortunately, the water buckets were cleaned out and refilled when the stalls were mucked so that was already done.
Turns out Stephen sheared 50 goats at Cynthia's and got to my place about 3 pm. That's a huge amount of work in this heat but Stephen is a great shearer with lots of experience. And he's fast. He told me his personal best is 56 seconds to shear a goat. Yikes. I can't imagine. My personal best is 8 hours to shear half a goat. You can see why I hire it done these days.
As usual, it took Stephen more time to set up and tear down than it did for him to shear my two Angora goats and trim the feet on the two dairy goats. And now I have heat ready goats - they are sleek and clean and so much cooler. I'm pleased and they look much happier.