Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Shearing the Angora Rabbits

Knit and Purl weren't the only ones who've received a hair cut lately. Wallace and Grommit our two Angora rabbits were also sheared.

They are a mixed breed of Angora and Thrianta. Wallace is a Chestnut and Grommit (shown here) is a Black.

You can shear Angoras up to 4 times a year, so long as the fiber is over 2 inches or so. But I've been having a really hard time spinning the Angora at that short of a length on its own. It slips apart and the yarn breaks. The Angora is very soft and slippery. Many spinners blend it with other fibers that have more of a tooth, like wool or Mohair. I've not tried this yet, instead I let Wallace and Grommit grow for six months to see if a longer fiber would take the spin better.

Their wool is a little over 6 inches and it is beautiful! I was thinking about having it commercially blended with the Mohair, but it's so long and gorgeous that I might give it a go again, alone.

We use electric clippers which makes it easier and faster, which I feel, places less stress on the rabbit.

 They are surprisingly calm throughout the whole process. I think they're getting used to being handled all over because I brush them at least twice a week with a slicker brush.

I think they are sort of relieved to get all that wool off. We let them run around outside after they were sheared and they were jumping and running and kicking their legs sideways. 

When we were done we had more fur on us than the rabbits, it's very feathery and fluffy and seems to stick to your face, nose and clothes.

The poor rabbits look like skinned rats,  but they'll fill in very fast. If it gets too chilly at night, we will put a heat lamp on them. They are already making little dens in their wooden cave boxes, they must know winter is coming.


Unknown said...

What brand and size clippers have you found work best?

Sara said...

I was always told you are only supposed to hand pull the fiber, and not sheer because the fibers can be shorter or less durable. However, if you can sheer instead - I am all for that!

Jennifer Sartell said...

Sarah, I've done both. Pulling does give you a nicer end to the fiber, but not to the point where it's not workable.

Jennifer Sartell said...

*where shearing isn't workable fiber*

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