Shearing GuidelinesTuesday, 23rd April 2019
By Dr Mackie Hobson
The sustainable guidelines / Responsible Mohair Standards (RMS) are based on best practice, scientific knowledge and welfare standards.
The Angora goat requires a high standard of management and care and the guidelines are intended to promote best practice and ensure the care and overall well-being of the Angora goat.
Goat handling facilities need to be well designed. The goats need flow through them with the minimum of stress, noise and handling.
- Before shearing commences the shearing shed should be cleaned and disinfected.
- Shearing equipment should be clean and disinfected before shearing and periodically during shearing.
- All races and enclosures must be free from sharp projections, corners and broken rails that may cause injury to goats
- Slatted catching pens are preferable as hygienic and good traction. (cement floor is acceptable)
- A wooden shearing board is preferable (cement floor is acceptable)
- The shearing shed should have adequate lighting and fresh air with a comfortable temperature.
- The goats must be shorn in groups of a similar age.
- It is preferable to shear young goats first to avoid the transmission of any infection (abscess).
- A separate pen should be provided to hold and treat unwell or injured goats until recovery, or to house goats that persistently bully other goats or are persistently bullied by other goats.
Shearing can be stressful so Angora goats must be handled quietly, calmly with tolerance and patience.
Angora Goats are creatures of habit, and have a very good memory. Once they are familiar with a set of pens or handling procedures they will expect to be treated the same way each time.
- They should be handled quietly and calmly
- Kids even if picked up to gently are very vocal by nature and they often bleat excessively. Kids will bleat excessively even when there is no pain or apparent reason to stress due to the unfamiliarity of the process. The following year when they are shorn as young goats, when they are more familiar with the handling and shearing process, this vocalisation is dramatically reduced. Lambs going through the same process handled gently and calmly will be much quieter. This is the nature of the Angora kid.
- Goats may be caught above the heel or by the base of the horn. Once caught the goat should be handled with one hand/arm under the neck and the other around the rear and moved to the shearing floor.
- It is unacceptable that Goats should not be dragged by their legs , fleece, tail, ears, head or neck
- Tails should NOT be lifted or twisted when moving goats.
- When a goat is ‘turned’ for shearing it must be done in a calm and controlled manner. The goat must not be dropped or thrown.
- The farmer should be present in the shearing shed during the shearing process to ensure the welfare of the goats under his care.
When this is not possible he must appoint a trained responsible person to oversee the welfare and handling of the goats.
- Cameras in the shearing shed recording proceeding is considered a good idea both for welfare and security reasons.
- Shearing should preferably be done by trained accredited shearers
- Shearers must observe the industry standards as prescribed in the shearing manual-best practice.
- The head of the shearing team must sign the CONTRACTORS DECLARATION (RMS Responsible Mohair Standards) to ensure that the head of the shearing division will takes responsibility for their team.
- Written/Visual ‘SHEARING STANDARDS OPERATING PROCEDURE’ must be visible in the shearing shed.
- The shearing manual is standard issue to all trainees participating in a hearer training course.
- Records of any worker training to be kept by Mohair SA (this related to training arranged by Mohair SA)
- Farm records will be audited.
- Hand shearing to be phased out by June 2019 (all shearing after this date to be carried out by accredited shearers)
Despite trained accredited shearers being used shearing injuries may still occasionally occur. These injuries must be dealt with appropriately.
- Must have an action plan
- Farmers should keep a medical kit available for such occurrences.
Serious injuries include wounds that are greater than 10cm, bleed excessively, result in removal of a teat, or cause damage to the vulva or prepuce.
Shearing must be stopped immediately and the wound treated.
- Pain relief must be given
- The wound must be cleaned with a topical disinfectant. The wound can be sutured or closed by means of ‘super glue’ by a trained person or veterinarian.
- A record must be kept of any serious injuries as to the shearer involved, the injury, the date and time of the injury.
Small cuts include superficial cuts under 10cm.
- These must be treated with a topical treatment and fly repellent.
- These wounds can be left to heal by second intension after treatment or ‘Super glue’ can be used to oppose the skin.
- It is preferable to give pain relief
- If sutures are required then pain relief must be provided and sutured by a trained person.
In the event of an abscess being accidently opened during shearing. The shearer should stop. The shear must be disinfected and the blade replaced. Any contamination should be cleaned and disinfected and the abscess be treated outside the shearing shed to prevent contamination.
- Goats should be returned to food and water as soon as possible after shearing.
- Care should be taken not to expose shorn goats to adverse weather conditions for at least the first month to 6 weeks.
- Facilities must be available to shelter the goats from adverse weather conditions after shearing.
Dr Mackie Hobson