While at the NY Sheep and Wool Festival this past October I made a fluffy new friend, a giant angora rabbit. When I set eyes on her I knew it was time to add a bunny to my herd of alpacas and chickens. At the end of the festival on a chilly Sunday afternoon I drove this big ball of fluff home to my family. My husband and I had chatted about it, but we kept it as a surprise for the kiddos. So when me and the rabbit got home my three little children were over the moon, and promptly named her Macaroni.
Now, I know nothing of bunnies. They are adorable and I have always wanted one, but this is a new journey where I will learn as I go. I do know that I want to spin her fluffy fiber with my alpacas fleece. So before the winter sets in and it is bitter cold outside I wanted to shear her for the first time. I have learned from the breeder and reading about it in a book I have about angora rabbits as pets, that you shear a giant angora three to four times a year. I also watched quite a few youtube videos on the subject, but you know what, watching and thinking I can do something, is much different than actually doing it in real life with a live bunny.
From the videos on how to shear an angora rabbit I have learned it generally takes most people 20-60 minutes to finish the job. A piece of advice I had learned from videos was that it doesn't have to all happen at once, and if the bunny needs a break, give it a rest and start up again later. So, true to my slow style these days it took me 10 days to complete. Partially because I was timid, and because my one year needed my attention.
From the start I reminded myself that there is no rush, Macaroni wouldn't care that she had a funny hair cut for a week or more. I found that slow and steady was best. I tried using electric shears, but found that good ole scissors were best. I could take my time. If I didn't watch what I was doing for a second Macaroni would bite me. She's a feisty one and is still learning how to rest in my lap as I shear her. We are both learning as we go. After much trial and error I found my way, and know that next time it will be a more streamlined experience for me and Macaroni.
In the end I go about 2.1 oz of fiber I could spin. I know next time I will get more, because my skills as a shearer will have improved. Quite a few times I had cut the fiber too short for spinning. My second and third cuts may have weighed more this time, but next time I am to be better.
I loved the experience and look forward to more grooming adventures with Macaroni.