This was goat sheering weekend and by the almost end, we were all bleeding. One goat is wrapped in vet wrap, another looks pretty good, the 3rd is ½ done, and I have 5 stitches.
So, it turns out that those crazy looking electric shears really are crazy. I’m used to the horse ones that are basically a supped-up version of people clippers. Wool shears look like a syfy cutting machine. They look like this.
They worked fine, but it made a bit of a mess of the mohair, it all became a jumbled mess. We were not planning on keeping this shearing. We hadn’t found a good way to keep them clean yet, so they were a bit matted, had hay and other feed tangled in their hair, and had gotten generally dirty. Had we wanted to keep it, I think I would have been extra frustrated trying to keep it manageable.
When we went to do the underbelly of the first, it became extra difficult. Their skin is a pale pink, and their hair is thick white. Seeing what is hair and what is flesh is actually quite hard. She started moving around so I tried to help by holding her leg, because of this Hubby accidentally clipped her flesh under arm. It was pretty bad. We called the vet and got an after hours number, that vet didn’t do large animals and basically said “good luck” and left it at that.
Now, my vet first aid skills lack a bit for smaller animals like this, so I did some brainstorming. I ran into the house and grabbed gauze, however I only had 2×2 squares and only 3. I was thinking that given the wound style, I didn’t want to use anything that would stick and cause more issues. Sooooo, you know what works great for blood and not sticking? Always, without wings. Ahahaha. I grabbed that too. So, yes, to start I put a pad on my goat. However, as I was getting her wrapped up, I wasn’t sure how to secure the pad and not have it stick to me, so I left the backing on. That made it slippery and it fell out. I put the gauze in and wrapped her up. That seemed to work. However, a few minutes later, the vet wrap had all shifted and the gauze was on the ground. We wrapped her up with more vet wrap to keep it clean, and let her go. Oddly, she doesn’t seem to notice that she has a wound. No limping, she’s not messing with it, just looks normal, other than being purple and pink.
The next day, I volunteered to shear manually. This actually worked great, except I did catch my husband’s finger a little – just a scratch though. Lady (the goat) looked pretty good, if I do say so. It left a little hair behind to help with sun protection, but it was still very short. I could see this being a great way to manage mohair fiber collection. Their hair is a lot like dreadlocks, so you can cut a few locks at a time and separate them out.
Goat #3, is our more skittish lady. At this point she’s already seen what has happened to her friends and knows why we were there. She wasn’t falling for the grain trick. I actually felt bad trying to catch her, she ran to flee and turned jumping right into the field fence, I thought she was going to catch a leg and we’d have another issue, but she just bounced off and ran.
Shortly after getting her up on the stanchion, some friends stopped by and hubby took the kids and went down to the shop to visit so I could shear without worrying about anyone or having the extra distraction. I was doing pretty good too! I had her about half sheared, but was starting to have issues because I hadn’t gotten enough off from around her neck and face. I got a fair amount around her neck cleaned off, and started working around her face. Gina (goat 3) gets a little testy and headbutted me as I was making a cut. Well, with how thick the hair is and trying to use my fingers for guides so I wouldn’t accidentally cut her, my fingers were a bit close and that headbutt was all that was needed to trim a finger too. Now here I am bleeding all over, a goat half sheared, and no one around to give me a hand. I took a quick peak to double check if it was as bad as I thought I saw. Sure enough, I had essentially stuck my finger in, nail first, to the scissor style shears and cut the side far enough in that I cut part of my finger nail. Damn.
Thinking this is actually way better than say the 90s, we all have cell phones, I called my husband so he could come take care of the goat. It went to voicemail. Humf. I stepped out of the barn, looked toward the shop, and gave my best “come here dog” whistle. He waved at me so I waved back thinking dang, I’m going to have to walk over there, but I can’t leave the goat. Luckily, my husband actually did see that I wanted him to come back, and walked back to me (its aound 100 yrds or so). I’ve already bled all over the floor, so I grab the vet kit, grab some blue shop towels to help stop the bleeding and wrapped it a bit with vet wrap. I’m not a great communicator in situations like this, so hubby is totally unaware, and asks “what’s up?” As I’m holding this wadded mess to my hand, I apparently had a short conversation in my head and only actually verbalized, “I need you to take care of the goat for me”.
Hubby: “huh? What do you want me to do with her?”
Me: “I dunno, just clean her up enough we can put her back, and then put her back”
Hubby: “soooo, what, like want me to use the clippers or what here?”
Me: “I don’t know! Sure, yes, do that”
Me: After thinking another minute “actually, I can just take this in myself if you want to stay with the kids, its not like I can’t drive”.
Hubby: Confused “what?”
Me: “well, I mean, I’m pretty sure I need to get this stitched up”.
Hubby: “you cut yourself?”
Me: Dumb look on my face “ya, what? That’s why I’m holding this. What?”
Visitors: general questions of how bad, need me to stay for the kids, etc.
Hubby: “ok, well let me clean this up, I’ll put her back, and then I’ll look at it and we can see if you need to go in”.
Once I took the cover off, he agreed we needed to go in, so we made a family trip of it. We seem to be there at least once a month lately. We should get a frequent flyer card.
Needless to say, 5 stitches later, I have a big fluffy cover on my finger and my toddler wants to constantly play with it. At one point, he grabbed fairly hard and twisted. I let out a slight scream which scared him. His reaction cracks me up, he jumps a little, pulls his little fist up to his mouth and points at me saying “shhhh, you don’t do that!”. My reaction: “I don’t, you don’t! that hurt mister.”
Side note, I made 3 sheets to keep the goats clean. I went to put one on the first and what fit perfect with her wool, now drags on the ground and looks like a little kid playing dress up in mom’s clothes. HAHAHA. Now what?
Who knew this would be such a disaster. But hey, next time should be good.
The good Goat:
The Bad Goat:
The Ugly Goat: