Shearing – The Experiment

I decided to try shearing Andre this year with electric clippers instead of scissors. The clippers I used are actually dog clippers, and really old, from the 1960s. We picked them up for about $5 at a thrift store just to experiment with electric shearing. Good deal too, especially because I’ve read that a good pair of clippers for Angoras can cost upwards of $300.

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I set myself up a nice little shearing station in the bunny yard. I used 2 sawhorses (the perfect height) with a metal shelf left over from the shelf that supports the breeder cages on top. I wrapped a towel around the shelf to keep the bunnies from slipping all over it. I also used a metal tray that fit the saw horses to keep all my equipment in.

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The supplies I used:

  • Various combs and brushes
  • Oil for the clippers
  • Bacitracin ointment (in case I nipped him)
  • Scissors
  • Bag to hold the sheared fiber
  • Paper towel

 

I started by brushing him out and then began slowly shearing him across the back and shoulders. Its nice to have 2 containers for the fiber – one for the sheared fiber, and one for the prime fiber that comes out on the brush.
Andre was a little restless, but overall did quite well with the noise and experience of the electric clippers. Chloe, on the other hand, hated the clippers and tried to get away from them by climbing on me. I guess it depends of the temperment of the rabbit!

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I never cut him with the clippers, but there was a few close shaves. He had some really big matts on his shoulders that the clippers had a hard time getting through, so I had to use the scissors on those. That is the only way I’ve cut him – with the scissors when I can’t see the skin.
It helps when shearing to hold the fiber at a 90 degree angle from the body (straight up) so the clipper blades can go straight into the fiber.  Also, according to the directions that came with the clippers, you are supposed to dip the entire clipper blade while running into a “light kerosene – oil mixture”  throughout the shearing operation. I don’t have kerosene, so I just lubricated the blades with an all purpose motor oil and wiped off the excess on a paper towel whenever the bunny needed a break.

 

It’s kinda fun when a big matt or nice chunk of fiber comes off.

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He had some really big matts that I had been kind of dreading to do on his neck and chest. For those, I have to have him on his back to do, and being upside down with a noisy machine thing on his neck would be way too scary for a prey animal.
I ended up doing those carefully with scissors.

I also should say that I did not do this all in one day. I worked on sections of him over about 2 weeks. Of course it doesn’t have to take that long. More experience on my part and less matts on his part would have sped up the operation.

Before:

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After:

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On a side note, Chloe’s due date came and went, still no babies. No nesting this time either. Rebred June 29, so new due date is July 30th. If nothing happens then, I might start seriously looking for a new buck.

Thanks for reading!

God bless,
Rebekah

 

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