This is the big day for the alpacas – haircut, pedicure and if necessary tooth trim! We shear our alpacas once a year in early summer. Whilst some of the herd enter the shearing area fairly calmly but cautiously, others resist and are positively rebellious! They lie down refusing to move, they kick, scream and sometimes spit – you never quite know what to expect!
We book our experienced alpaca shearers months ahead and pray that we have chosen/been allocated a date when the weather is at least dry if not sunny.
We were fortunate again this year as it was a beautiful day and a young lady called Lacey headed a team of 3 shearers to relieve our boys and girls of their coats – 27 in total.
The alpaca is laid down on its side and its legs are tethered and is stretched out. The shearer uses an electric clipper to first cut the blanket (main body) of the alpaca. When the first side is shorn it is turned over to shear the other side.
Lucy and her team skilfully remove the fleece from each animal. They also take the opportunity to cut toenails and check each animal’s teeth to ensure they do not overlap their upper palate.
The blanket is then rolled up and put into a paper sack and weighed. This is the best part of the fleece with the longest staple.
The shearers then go on to shear the neck and legs which is also bagged up and weighed.
Lucey and her team and our own helpers – John, Russell, Bob June and Ros worked really hard all day and did a brilliant job – so a big thank you from me and a big thank you from the boys and girls.
Having shed the heavy fleeces the herd fell much more comfortable.
The average fleece weighs between 2 – 4 kilos and I use it throughout the year for a variety of craft projects including spinning, dyeing and felting.