09/25/08, 08:17 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Central Calif
How To Shear An Angora
Try this method of shearing, the message was written by Germaine Pidgeon and she has given permission to forward as needed for educational purposes.
It was a reply to my adventure in trying to shear an angora and I had to settle for plucking him.
HOW TO SHEAR AN ANGORA
From: "GERMAINE PIDGEON" <fancy@t...>
Date: Mon Aug 30, 2004 6:05 am
Subject: Re:How to shear an Angora
The first time you clip a bunny it is like breaking a horse. I wear a
jacket or sweatshirt to protect my person from scratches. Never reward the
bunny for struggling. Wait until he is cooperating to put him down again.
I put the rabbit on its back in my lap, with it's head tucked under my
elbow. If you cover their eyes and hold them secure they settle down. The
first task I perform is a blunt cut to the toe nails, be sure not to cut the
quick but do take away the weapons.
I start to clip at the hind legs. Tilt the rabbits hind end to the side
and begin to cut where the wool is naturally parting over the knee. Pick up
the wool in thin layers, that allows you to know where the blade is . Turn
the blade away from the skin and make your cut. This should give you a
quarter inch of fur left on the rabbit and will help to prevent you from
cutting the skin. Once you have your opening started work in thin rows
towards the tail. I hold the tail between my fingers and use them as a
cutting guide to prevent injuring the tail. I then rotate the rabbit onto
its back and gently snip away the wool between its legs and around the
genitals. Put your fingers between the blade and the tender parts to
prevent injuries to the rabbit. That completed, rotate the rabbit's back end
to the opposite side and repeat the process. When the legs are free, lift
the hind quarters toward you, hold the tail toward you and cut in rows as
far down the back as you can get. Then let the rabbit lay flat in your lap
and clip as far up the belly and sides as you can get.
I then flip the rabbit right side up and pull the fleece over its head while
I continue to cut in rows progressing to the neck area. Pull on the skin
slightly, enough to take the wrinkles out while you cut.
To get the front and bib areas I put the rabbit on its back and lay it with
its ears between my knees. If it struggles I drop it lower until it quits
struggling. When it quits struggling I let it back up. The rabbit catches
on quickly if I lay still I get a comfortable position. Still, is necessary
when you get near the throat and eyes. I hold the front legs between my
fingers and snip away the knots. From there just move the front legs as
needed to get access to the areas you need to cut. I will sometimes need to
shift the rabbits lower body between my knees and while I hold its head in
my left hand I can get the cheeks and under the chin.
The first time rabbit takes a while to clip. When I am working with a
cooperative animal it takes 15 minutes to clip.
I maintain a dual purpose French Angora herd for meat and showing and have
to keep the population within the 175 holes I have. If I count the litters
with mothers, I have an average herd of 200 to 250. Less than perfect
juniors leave with the meat man at 8 to 10 weeks and are housed in large
weanling pens until I sort out the keepers. I have to shear all the rabbits
I ship to the meat man just before they go. I ship on average 50 rabbits a
month. I can shear 25 a day using the described method. The rabbits I
sell are from my show stock and perform well because I cull aggressively.
The day I decide I wouldn't breed it, it leaves the herd. My culls pay for
the feed bill.