Shaving goats
Hey Kat, 

I saw you asked about shaving goats in the classifieds thread and I agree--it needs its own topic. So I hope you don't mind that I created one. Don't be afraid to shave your goats. Most of mine love being shaved once they get used to the noise and feel of the clippers. They may shy back at first, but with a little patience and some treats they've all come to enjoy a "full body massage" with the clippers. My old goat Cuzco used to fall asleep while I clipped him. And he would sometimes lean into the clippers and mess me up too!     

I have a pair of corded Wahl animal clippers that work very well. I've had them for years and years. I bought a box of different-length comb attachments at Sally Beauty Supply. I think for the wethers I shave them to around 5/8" at the end of May. Sometimes I shave to 1/2" if we're sleeking up for a parade or show. If I have to shave later in the summer I'll use a 3/4" comb so they don't have to grow quite as much before fall. I shave Finn shorter than Sputnik because he gets hotter and his coat is thicker. 

With our old goat Cuzco I used to leave a 1" wide strip of unshaved hair down his spine so he could still raise his hackles. Also, he had a very prominent spine, so it was easy to accidentally shave it too short and cause it to get sunburned even with a guard. If your goat has a prominent spine, leaving the hair long on it can help protect it from the pack saddle. Finn and Sputnik, on the other hand, have rounded backs and their hackles aren't well-defined like Cuzco's, so I usually shave their spine too. In fact, Sputnik's hackle hair lays over to one side, so he'd look lopsided if I were to leave it unshaved. 

I also leave the lower leg hair unshaved for packgoats. They need the hair for protection. I also do not shave their tails. In fact, I don't even shave the tails on my show goats because I absolutely detest the "paintbrush" look. That, and I tend to think the tail hair is important to protect their sensitive heinies. A packgoat's head doesn't need to be shaved either.
I would only shear the lower part of the rump (leaving the coat on every area that will have contact with saddle and panniers) and leave head, neck, tail and legs alone. My goats live outside 24/7 in summer and need weather protection as well as some relief from the heat during packing.
Sabine from Germany
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Hey this is great info, thanks for starting the thread!!  I am actually thinking of shaving Sammy now, or at least soon - did a short 4 mile hike mid 60's in the sun recently and it was pretty warm, he definitely got hot as well as on our E WA desert trip a week ago. I'm in western WA so the night temps are fairly moderate now at low elevation. 

I was thinking of shaving his main body, and the bottom of his belly where he has a really long/thick black "ruff" (he's an Ober.)  He enjoys a massage and is used to noise so maybe this will work, altho crawling under his belly with clippers hmm... could get interesting! I kind of like the idea of leaving an "integrated saddle pad" by not shaving the area the saddle goes. Good tip about the spine.

5/8" - 3/4" - OK got it, more goat shopping...
My goats like having their bellies clipped. The hair down there is very thick, runs several different directions with lots of cowlicks and swirls, and it can be matted, so you have to go slow and be careful. But the end results are worth it. It gets rid of some prime hair for ticks and dirt to hide in.

Since our goats heat up more during driving than packing, I prefer to shave their entire backs. That, and it would look silly to have long hair over the saddle area on a driving goat! Our goats live outside 24/7, but we live in an arid, almost desert climate so they really don't need weather protection in the summer.

I love how our goats look after a shave. They're so sleek and dapper!
We used a 4F blade, not sure what the length was but its longer then the 10 blade. We just did a body clip so belly, sides, back, chest, back of thighs. We left full length on there legs and tapered it on their necks.

I clipped our white doe with this blade and she got sunburnt here in western WA so I've opted to not clip a white goat. But the rest did fine and didn't seem to mind the clippers except in ticklish spots.

It did seem to help them cool, and we also will hose down the hot goats on extreme days, believe it or not they like it once they get over the fact that it's water, haha...
Today we stroll the neighborhood, someday we'll climb mountains together..  Heart
We accidentally sunburned a couple of white goats (or at least the white parts of them) our first year doing show clips. Since then I have never shaved a goat closer than 1/4" even for show. In fact, I usually use the 3/8" guard for a show clip. Mine look fuzzier than the other goats at the show, but I'm sure they're more comfortable and I don't have to worry about sunburning those white spots. They still look sleek and dapper in my opinion, and they're still soft to pet, which is something you don't get with a short show clip. I figure the judge only has to look at my goat for 5 minutes. I have to look at her the rest of the time. So no I'm not shaving them bare, or turning their poor tails into paintbrushes, or removing their beautiful beards, or shaving the guard hairs and whiskers off their ears, muzzles, and eyes. Everyone looks at me funny when I bring a show doe into the ring with a long, full beard, but I like those beards and I don't want to remove them just for two quick jaunts around a show ring. I shampoo them, comb them out, put conditioner in them so they're silky and neat, but I'm not shaving beards unless they are thin and scraggly.
I can't imagine anyone shaving a neat looking beard off!  My other goat Ranger is white, but his coat isn't nearly as thick I think he'll be OK without a shave, he didn't seem to sunburn last summer and he was too young to wear a pack so got some good exposure all over. He doesn't suffer from the heat nearly as much altho he has unfortunately developed other issues that will probably prevent him from becoming a pack goat.

Last night I ordered a 2-speed cordless clipper with 1/2", 5/8", and 3/4" combs. It said to use a #30 blade with the combs for "optimal results" so I threw one of those in as well, the clipper comes with a #10.  Hope I did all that right!
I hope a cordless clipper will be "man enough" for the job. If you're only doing one goat it should be ok. Of course, since I haven't used cordless clippers in almost 20 years, I imagine the technology has come a long way.
I hope so too, I debated on cord vs cordless but I came across a professional dog grooming forum and they were pretty enthusiastic about this new model so that tipped me it's the Wahl KM the marketing verbage includes "horses & livestock."

Forgot to add, apparently you can use it with the charging cord attached as well so it can be used cordless and corded if you run out of charge, I sure hope it doesn't take me over 2 hours to shave Sammy LOL!
Did the deed yesterday afternoon. Did not run out of charge altho I'm pretty sure I came close to 2 hours LOL! First weird thing was, when I took the brand new #30 blade out of the package, it looked dirty and had some light blue grease on it, I got the feeling maybe it was used?

Well I proceeded anyway, decided to start with the belly - wow, you weren't kidding about those cowlicks I had a devil of a time trying to figure out which direction "against the hair" was. After wallowing thru it and some body hair with a 5/8" comb for some time where I didn't seem to be making much progress I changed out to a 1/2". That seemed to go better, except after I got all done I realized I somehow went too close on the sides of his belly so it looks quite shaved there, right where the panniers will touch oopsie.... I did manage to leave a "saddle pad" on his back altho he will not be featured on the cover of GQ for this lopsided styling!

One thing I wish I'd done was leave his little "mane" on his neck, he looks kind of naked there now. I only shaved his neck up to where it entered the stanchion. Didn't touch legs, tail, top of neck or head.

Hopefully he'll be more comfortable now, that was the point of this exercise! Thanks for the encouragement.

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