The Good Living Guide to Keeping Sheep and Other Fiber Animals: Housing, Feeding, Sh: Housing, Feeding, Shearing, Spinning, Dyeing, and More

The Good Living Guide to Keeping Sheep and Other Fiber Animals: Housing, Feeding, Sh: Housing, Feeding, Shearing, Spinning, Dyeing, and More

by Janet Garman


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A comprehensive and inspiring guide small-scale fiber farming and wool crafting.

Fiber crafts—such as knitting, weaving, and crocheting—continue to surge in popularity, with sites like Ravelry (a social media community for the wool obsessed) gaining more than six million members. Artists are seeking quality raw materials in greater numbers. The cottage industry of supplying not only raw fleece, but handcrafted yarns, is strong.

Janet Garman has a small fiber flock (including Pygora fiber goats) and shares her expertise, as well as interviews, tips, and advice from fiber farmers and craftspeople across the country. In these pages, readers will learn the basics of properly raising sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas, and rabbits, with tips on selecting animals, feeding, housing, breeding, and healthcare. From there, instructions are provided for shearing, sorting, skirting, washing, picking, carding, combing, and spinning the wool. Enthusiasts will also find recipes and instructions for natural, plant-based dyes and advice for selling your finished yarn.

The proper care of fiber animals leads to a superior yarn product. Lapses in good care can show up in the fleece. As the demand for quality yarn and fiber grows, more people are becoming concerned with the animals’ treatment and care. Give your animals a good home and a happy life and enjoy superior fleece and yarn products for your own homestead or to sell.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781680994049
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Publication date: 02/19/2019
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 738,540
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Janet Garman is a farmer and freelance writer in Maryland. A career in writing began after the nest emptied. All the years of studying farm management and raising many species of livestock along with a full house of children led her to begin sharing her experience in a farm theme blog and website, Janet's background includes a degree in large animal farm management and animal science from University of Maryland and decades of farm and homesteading experience. Her other books are 50 DIY Projects for Your Chickens,Chickens from Scratch, Raising Your Own Chickens from Hatch to Egg Laying and Beyond, Habitat Housing for Rabbits, and Margarita and the Beautiful Gifts. She lives in Crownsville, Maryland.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Choosing Animals and Making a Plan x

Part I All About Sheep 1

Acquiring Sheep and Basic Care 3

Choosing and Buying Sheep 3

Preparing to Bring Home Sheep 9

Housing 10

Fencing 14

Feeding 16

Sheep Health Care and Concerns 25

Vaccinations 29

Common Diseases 30

Sheep Management 42

Breeding Sheep 48

Keeping Health Records and Care Instructions 54

Part II Goats, Llamas and Alpacas, and Rabbits 57

Fiber Goats 59

What is Cashmere? 60

Choosing and Buying Goats 61

Horns or No Horns? 61

Feeding Fiber Goats 62

Housing and Fencing for Fiber Goats 62

Shearing a Fiber Goat 63

Preparing the Goat Fiber for Processing 67

Llamas and Alpacas 71

Llamas versus Alpacas 71

Housing and Feeding 72

Llama and Alpaca Health 72

Rabbits 77

Housing 78

Feeding 79

Part III Shearing and Processing Fibers 81

Shearing and Preparing the Fleece 83

Shearing Day 83

Skirting 90

Scouring/Washing the Fleece 93

Carding and Combing 95

Hiring a Fiber Mill to Process Your Fleeces 97

Natural Dyes for Wool 103

Tools for Naturally Dyeing Homestead Wool 104

Mordants and Modifiers 105

Color Modifiers 106

Dye Recipes 107

Other Common Plant Dyes 122

Powdered Natural Dyes 123

Part IV Working with Yam 129

Spinning 131

Woolen versus Worsted Spinning 131

Plying or Plied Yarn 131

Yarn weights 132

Yarn Tools 133

Knitting 135

Knitting Abbreviations 135

Crocheting 137

Crocheting Abbreviations 137

Weaving 139

Embroidery, Tapestry, and Crewelwork 141

Rug Making 142

Felting 143

Selling Your Farm-Raised Fleeces and Handmade Yarns and Products 146

Selling a Raw Fleece 147

Can Raising a Fiber Flock Be Profitable? 147

Selling on the Internet 148

Wool Pools 149

Sheep and Wool Festivals 149

Acknowledgments 152

Recommended Resources 153

Index 155

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