Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Clipping and Shearing

We receive a few calls/emails throughout the year on what clippers or shears folks need for their livestock. The answers depend on what the individual is shearing/clipping and for what purpose (ex. range shearing or show shearing/clipping).
(photo above) A Premier 4000c Clipping Machine.
(photo below) a Premier 4000s Shearing Machine

Farm/range flocks for meat or fiber have their wool removed via shearing. We recommend a Phantom R comb for folks just starting out with shearing. For intermediate shearers, the Spirit or Blackhawk 92 are advised. Professional shearers tend to use a flared comb based on the bevel needed or a 9 tooth comb (Apache) with the Storm cutter.

Show stock—meat lambs are slick shorn to accentuate their muscling. Slick shearing (slick clipping) is done with a set of clippers with Fine, Surgical or Super Surgical blades.

Fiber animals and some breeding animals are blocked with a shearing machine. Since blocking occurs off the skin, a Phantom S comb is recommended.

Meat goats in the show ring should have their hair removed with a clipping machine rather than shears. Typical blades are the Fine, Medium or XtraCover.

Goats raised for the fiber- use a shearing machine with the Phantom R or Mohair combs.

For blocking cattle use a Phantom S comb with a shearing machine.
Peeling is usually done with a Medium or Coarse set of blades on a clipper. If using a shearing machine, the Phantom R should be used.
Shaving is usually done with a clipping machine with Fine or Medium blades.

Horses can be clipped with either Fine or Medium blades.

A clipping machine with XtraCover blades should be used.

Guard Dogs:
We typically clip our dogs with Coarse blades and a clipping machine.

Llamas and alpacas:
When clipping llamas and alpacas use Coarse blades.
When shearing the following combs can be used: SpiritCamelidMohairPhantom R and Blackhawk 92. If more fiber is to be left on the animal, a Comb Lifter can be used to keep the comb off the skin.

*Blocking: Removal of wool or hair off the skin. The comb or cutter of the shearing machine does not touch the animal.
*Peeling: Removal of dirty body hair with clippers or shears.
*Shaving: Removal of hair from the head, brisket and tail.
*Clippers/Clipping machine use clipping blades (Super SurgicalSurgicalFineMediumCoarse and XtraCover).
*Shearers/Shearing machines use combs and cutters. The combs are Spirit, CamelidApacheMohairBlackhawk 92Blackhawk 94Phantom R and Phantom S. The cutters are the SpitfireStorm and Ceramic cutter.
All combs except for the Apache should be used with the Spitfire cutter. For efficient shearing, we recommend using the Apache with the Storm Cutter, but only if you are an experienced shearer.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Netting tips

During this time of year we receive a number of questions on how to (and how not to) use electrified netting. Here are a few of the tips we provide:

How to connect two separate rolls…

The end posts of the two separate rolls should be inserted into the ground next to one another. With one of the provided strings (used to tie the roll together), tie the end posts together near the top.
Clip the metal clips together or use a PowerLink to connect the clips (this makes a handy gate option).

What to do with the metal clip…

If you have a length of net that has an unused clip (one that is not carrying power to another fence), it can be connected to one of its strands. This keeps the clip from potentially contacting a grounded wire or fence.

Do not attach clip to an un-energized fence for support. This will cause a dead short.

What to do with extra netting…
If you find you have a few extra feet of netting and need to terminate your fence, guide the extra length around a PowerPost or FiberRod (1/2" to 11/16") to make a U-Turn .

Common mistakes:
More often than not, when someone returns a roll of net, it has been rolled up incorrectly. Some folks roll the entire net (like a carpet) instead of folding (via the posts) then rolling the net. Folding then rolling is faster and easier than rolling. An improperly rolled net causes numerous (avoidable!) headaches.

Not energizing the net. Electrified netting must be properly electrified in order for it to be fully effective (and safe). Un-eletrified netting encourages bad habits in livestock and can be lethal.

Sometimes the bottom electrified strand (2nd horizontal wire from the bottom) can get caught around the ground spike of the net post. This causes an instant dead short in the fence. Make sure when installing netting, that the spikes haven't caught any errant strands.

Make sure the fence is well tensioned (by hand). If not, sagging can occur which may lead to the lower strands causing the fence to short out.