After our rush to get the goats in under cover we were rewarded with lovely thunderstorms and 1/4 inch of rain on Saturday afternoon - very satisfying to know we didn’t run round and round the paddocks in vain. Luckily though, Sunday was bright and sunny again and not too hot, perfect weather for shearing.

I was up at the shed at 8.30am getting ready (ugh), shearers like their floors swept, and we had to make some room for the fleeces. Stephen and Anne arrived at about 9 and we got started.

A few goats at a time get put into the catching pen - it’s right next to the shearing floor and has a swing gate. The shearer goes into the pen and catches a goat (or sheep) and then backs out straight onto the floor in the correct position.


Shearing starts at the belly, traditionally this is swept aside and sold separately as sheep belly is usually shorter, but the goat bellies were nice and long and clean so we kept them together in a box for carding. Then the hind legs and rear end are done and this was discarded - all the dirty straggly bits.

Then the real business starts, and it’s fascinating to watch as the locks peel away from the skin in layer after layer. The shearer goes up one back leg, across the flank on that side, does all the topknot fiddly bits (horns are fun!) and then down the other flank. The good fleece all peels away in one big piece.


The nekkid goat gets sent out the door to a pen (only one went the wrong way and leapt around all over the shed before we caught her!) and the shearer catches the next one.


The shed hand (moi!) gathers up the fleece and takes it to the skirting table. There’s not much skirting to do, as we left behind most of the unwanted bits, but I had to check carefully for any second cuts and straggly bits that crept in.


The fleece is then rolled up in a pillowcase (you can see them behind me) and allocated to a pile depending on the quality. Even though the goats are all roughly the same age we had quite a lot of variation.


After 19 sweet little does, goat number 20 was rather more of a handful :-D


We didn’t put his fleece with the rest, it’s rather pungent smelling!

Goat number 21 wasn’t actually a goat:


…but his fleece is just as lovely. He gets shorn standing up, he’s far too dignified to sit down on his butt for a haircut. I don’t have a picture of him afterwards, but will get one in the next day or so.


The goats get shorn twice a year, this is their third clip and will probably be the best overall, although some of them had such fine fleece this time that the next one will probably also be excellent. Their next job is to have some babies for us - hence the smelly man pictured above :-D

The Mohair will be up for sale soon, washed and dyed in Mum’s Etsy shop and as whole fleeces as well. I’ll keep you posted.

Ciao! x

13 Responses to “Shearing Day!”
  1. Marcy says:

    He may be stinky (and I am familiar with that lovely aroma), but what a handsome fella he is! And what a set of horns!

  2. Stephanie says:

    This all looks fabulous and is only increasing my yen to have a goat. I’m thinking of that big park out the back of Stash in Putney….. surely we could keep a couple there?!

  3. Jo says:

    Looks like a fun but busy day!

  4. Kate says:

    *swoons at unrestrained goat nudity*

    A kitten would take up less room in your suitcase, you know…

  5. Daisy says:

    I would love to have a goat (or two). If I didn’t live in a flat in Slough…

  6. knittymama says:

    I love the look on goat 20’s face!!

  7. Joanne says:

    So, is it true about Australian shearers? How fast do they really shear? I ask because I’ve definitely helped out at a goat shearing or two…and wonder if the Aussies truly have the speed that I’ve read about. Shearers in the US (especially for handspinning) take their time and do a sheep or goat every 5-10 minutes. Of course, handshears take longer than the electric clippers!

    One other question–I notice your alpaca is being shorn while standing. (or is it a small llama?) I ask because most people hog tie them in the US, as they can kick and be dangerous. Is your livestock just very used to being handled and thus safer to shear while standing?

    The end results look lovely! Your mum is raising gorgeous animals!

  8. Beth P. says:

    Hi Diane,
    This was my first visit to your blog!! It will not be the last. Beautiful animals, spinning and knitting!

    Beth P.
    Maryland, USA

  9. Jewel says:

    How fun, they look so cute with there hair cuts.

  10. Emma Gerring says:

    Ooo Lovely!! What’s your mum’s etsy shop called? I’m in Perth, WA and would LOVE some of that fibre!!

  11. Kat says:

    That was a really interesting read and great pictures too.

  12. Amanda Cathleen says:

    they are so sweet! I really love the look the goats have on their faces after the shearing, they look like they are squinting from the sun!

  13. Lindsey says:

    Way behind, but I’m also curious about your mom’s etsy shop. As you know, I’ve been on the lookout for your family’s mohair for a while! :-)

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