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.