No Pygora® shows in your area? Not a problem – just ship your goat in a box to a show. Actually, for PBA-sanctioned fiber shows, you can keep the goat at home and send the fleece. It is a fun way to show off a Pygora’s main product and removes any possible travel-related risk to the goat’s health. The PBA requires that all fleeces shown in a sanctioned fleece show must be harvested within 1 year of the show.
Preparing For a Fleece Show
The hardest and most time-consuming part of preparing a show fleece is preparing for harvest. If you have more than one goat, you may want to save the best fleece for last and practice on less-perfect fleeces. To prepare a fleece to be shown:
- To pluck or comb a fleece, check your goats to determine when they first start shedding. Use a plastic hairbrush, pet grooming brush or cotton hand card to comb out the fleece. To hand pluck, gently pull the fleece from the goat; it should come off easily! Goats generally do not shed all at once so should be combed or plucked every few days. Experiment to see what works best for you.
- Remove dirt and debris. There are several ways to do this:
Using a blower – you can use a commercial animal blower, a hair dryer on a cool setting or even a leaf blower. Make sure the opening of the blower is not restricted and that the blower is not on high. Both can cause the air to travel very fast and can cause felting. Blow the dirt out, not in. Don’t blow straight down into the fleece; instead, blow across the fleece at a 90º angle. If you notice felting, either slow the air speed or hold the blower farther away.
Brushing – you can use a brush to very lightly brush the fleece, teasing the dirt out. Don’t comb the fleece like your hair. Use short, quick strokes with a dog slicker or a hairbrush with balls on the tips of the bristles. It is very important that you don’t brush the locks out. If you do, spritz the fleece with water and let the goat dry for a day or two bedded on clean straw. This should revive the locks.
Washing the goat – this may be done only before the fleece is harvested. PBA show rules state that a fleece must be shown in its natural state so you may not wash a fleece after it has been harvested. In addition, do not use anything except water to wash your goat. Use warm water if possible to rinse the goat. Make sure you have enough time to get the goat totally dry before shearing. Do not wash your goat if the weather doesn’t permit.
- Harvest the fleece by shearing, combing or plucking. It’s up to you and the fleece type you want to show. The way you harvest can affect your score. For example, with a combed fleece, a judge cannot see lock formation. It may help the judge if you clip some of the fleece to preserve some locks. Take your time harvesting so you can preserve as much of the look of the fleece as possible. If you shear, avoid second cuts. These really can hurt your score.
- Package your fleece for display. Pygora™ fleeces are shown in a cardboard banker’s box (readily available at office supply stores). You want to present the best picture possible. Laying the locks out in a box is a very popular way to display PygoraTM. This means more time has to be taken while shearing, but the presentation is well worth it. Only minimal skirting is allowed (removing undesirable or stained parts of the fleece).
- Complete the paperwork. Label the box or bag with date of harvest, fleece weight, fleece type, and method of harvest. If you comb or pluck, record the start and stop dates as the fleece will not release all at once. You must include a copy of the goat’s registration papers.
- Send/deliver the fleece to the show coordinator. For out-of-town shows, the entry form should list the return postage to have your fleece sent back to you. If you are interested in selling your fleece at the show, ask the show coordinator what the rules are for selling.
Buck Fleece Shows
Because bucks like to add their ‘perfume’ to their fleece, a buck’s fleece is shown very differently. To enter a buck’s fleece you need:
- a 1-ounce sample of fleece harvested from the buck’s barrel in a ziplock bag with the harvest date written on the bag.
- a color, side-view photo of the buck in full fleece.
- a copy of the buck’s registration papers.