Imagine being held between a guys knees (no people! no kinky thoughts now) and having a huge pair of scissors cut off all your hair all over your body. Sometimes only centimeters from your eyes. Well, that is what a poor sheep or angora goat must feel like when being sheared.
During the International Mohair Summit there were several shearing demonstrations both with scissors as well as the electric shearer. Although the electric one is probably the way of the future, I found the guys shearing with the hands much more interesting. The Angora goats get sheered twice a year, before breeding and before kidding. They are first sheared when they are only a couple of month old, as the hair of the kids are the finest and the most sought after.

They had the best of the best doing the demonstrations. On the Angora goat side the demonstration was done by Sameel Nkomoye. He is a 5 times South Africa and 3 times World Angora goat shearing champion.
Shearers normally work in groups who go from farm to farm shearing. They get paid per goat that they do and a top shearer can finish between 150 and 180 goats on a good day. It takes about 5 years of training before a shearer can do that many and the only way to get there is to spend your days with “your ass in the air and your head down”.

There was a demonstration of Merino sheep shearing as well which was done by another 3 times world champion. This time world sheep shearing champion Zolile Hans. Now this man knows how to shear a sheep. Apparently at the last world champs he finished his last three sheep in just over 1 and a half minutes per sheep. That takes some doing.

After Zolile finished his sheep, they spread the fleece on the table for everybody to see and touch. It is absolutely amazing how these pro’s keep the fleece together like this.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Gaelyn

    Oh how I'd love to rub my hands on those fleece, so soft….The kid mohair is devine.The shearing must be an amazing thing to watch.

  2. I have seen these shearers at work and it is truly an art that they have mastered. What I want to know is how his back feels at the end of the day.

  3. Karin

    Very interesting post, I've always been fascinated by this process. It's amazing how fast they work, without doing any damage!

  4. Perry

    Not alwyays true that there is no damage. 🙂 Every now and then there is a “button hole” in the sweater when shearing a sheep. Poor sheep! I sheared sheep one year here when I was a boy….35 years ago! I still remember the button holes. (nicking a sheep's skin.)

  5. Dot

    Know what I'm wondering…how do they keep the sheep still enough to get this done? I have cat's and maybe it's no comparison…but when I bathe them they're squirming like a greased pig getting electric shock! Can't imagine the sheep aren't dying to get away. Cool posting!

  6. Marka

    I've seen various shearing competitions over the years, and I'm always amazed at how quickly and efficiently the good shearers work. And the sheep and goats, they stay so still!

  7. Avril

    Fascinating!! We, who live in the extra large cities, don't see things like that! Would love to do the 'touchy feely' !!

  8. Janet

    I wonder if he could do me, like now? I am so desparate for a hair cut anything will do. I can only go next week! LOL! It does take a lot of talent though, doesn't i?

  9. Anonymous

    looking at these pictures took me back 50 years when I was a wool and mohair buyer in Port-elizabeth. Congratulations to the shearers

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