Alpaca shearing day

About four months ago we had our first shearing day at the farm. But first I was invited to volunteer and help out at a neighbouring farm, where we got our boys from. We managed to get through 15-17 alpacas with 2 shearing tables going full speed.

Even before attending the shearing event at the other farm, we had to book our own shearing day and I had to learn about all the prep work and tools needed for the day. The lady at the other farm asked me who would be there to help us with the boys and my answer was “just me and Mitchell, is that not enough?”. She casually said “I think you may need 3-4 more people”…
Is she mad!? We only have 4 alpacas!

I showed up for volunteering day and only then I fully understood WHY we need more than 2 people to handle the cute and cuddly alpacas… Let me show you

This table was what we used to restrain the patients at the other farm

As we got the candidates ready to get propped on the table, it took quite a few hands to keep things in place and no hooves flying in anyone’s face. We were so lucky to get a few more people to come and help! Also, spots are open for next year shearing… just saying… I’m very serious though…

Things got heated as Tazzy was a huge spitter (notice the towel over his snout) and hated to have his legs touched and hated to be up on the table and screamed like he was being murdered and, and, and… no wonder they named him Tazmanian Devil; he’s a monster in disguise. But we did manage to get him all cleaned up and looking like a giant poodle.

We used the leaf blower to blow any debris out of the fleece

The boys were calm and did really well putting up with us twisting and turning them.

What came off of them was sheer gold too; an abundance of fleece that protected them from the harsh winter and one that would be used further to keep people warm.

Nobody recognized baby Remington afterwards

Headshots of the boys… baby Remington was already on the table when the photographer came.

It took about an hour per animal and mostly because it was our first time and the lady explained all the steps as they happened. She was absolutely amazing at letting us know the whys and hows. We learned more about good fleece and waste fleece, body conformation and hoof health.

© all the pictures were taken by Sean Scally of Sean Scally Events Photos

 

 

3 Thoughts on “Alpaca shearing day

  1. Learning how to spin their fleece into yarn sounds like a very interesting project for the future, Laura. I remember when I was art school many moons ago, I did get a taste of weaving yarn into a piece with artistic patterns. Quite the lengthy process. 🙂

  2. Loved reading about this! So does everyone sell the fleece to the same person or company? Does anyone actually work their own fleece?

    • I believe most of the volunteers at the other farm sell to this one person, who in turn sends it to be processed and made into yarn. He then contracts local artists to work with it (knit, crochet, etc) and sells the items in a shop. Now, all the volunteers are either friends, family, owners of alpacas. When we bought the alpacas, they were pretty much sold as a “package” with the guy’s contact info attached (as a guarantee that if I wanted to sell the fleece there is at least him that will take everything). Next year or so I want to learn how to ‘skirt it’ (clean it further) and see if I can sell privately to spinners AND, eventually, I want to learn to spin it myself too 🙂

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