Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How to Shear Wool from an Angora Rabbit

There are two types of angora rabbit hair: the kind that is able to be plucked and the kind that isn't. Many angora owners find they are able to pluck the hair from their rabbit with ease and little fuss from the
rabbit. This plucking is accomplished by simply pulling on a few strands of wool at a time until the rabbit has been freed of all excess wool. Some angoras, mainly of the German and Giant varieties, are not able to be plucked so easily and other methods of removing the wool is necessary to maintain the health of the rabbit.

Shearing is my method of choice and while it can be a daunting task, there are a few easy steps that can help you to accomplish this chore with relatively little headache.

Firstly, if you intend to use the wool later, make sure the rabbit's fur is long enough. Wool that is too short will not spin properly and will make a weak yarn. If, however, you are keeping the wool short for grooming and not for using, then the length of the wool is not of great significance to you for purposes of shearing.

Begin by letting your rabbit hop around and get enough exercise so that he has a chance to work out some energy and calm down a bit. Use this time to prepare your setting and equipment. You will need sharp scissors, a damp washrag, a comb or brush used on the rabbit regularly, a small trashcan with a fresh liner, and something to collect the wool in, if you are planning on keeping it. Once the rabbit has settled down somewhere, preferably laying down, part the hair down the center of the back from the shoulder blades to about the middle of the back. From the shoulder and working your way back, hold one side of the part down with your non-dominant hand, slide the scissors in just under the part you've made, and cut the hair. This method of trimming will allow you to get very close to the skin without cutting the rabbit's delicate skin. Continue trimming the rabbit using this method for the entire back and rump of the rabbit. Wool from this area is the only wool I save as the rest has a tendency to get dirty or knot up too badly for use.

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