Spring Shearing

Kona and Flash getting a bite to eat after shearing

Kona and Flash getting a bite to eat after shearing

Well, everyone got their annual shearing and just in the nick of time, at least for us humans. Luckily the rain held off until we were done for the day.    The weather turned cold again almost down to freezing and the alpacas were in the barn kushing and shivering.  I tried to get them some relief from the wind by closing some of the overhead doors and cut down on the windflow  through the barn.  This week it warmed up into the 70’s so they enjoyed being outside. We expect another cold snap near freezing to come through beginning of the week.

Dash after shearing; nice and slim

Dash after shearing; nice and slim

 

They do like the fleece taken off; you can tell by seeing them kick their heels up and take a run across the pasture for no particular reason other than they feel “lighter” without the fleece.  They do have to get used to each other again.  As we took each one back into the barn after shearing, the gang would come over to check out the newly sheared from head to toe.  They seem very visually tied to each other; the sense of smell does not appear to play any particular part in identifying each other.  Once they all were together for awhile they appeared to be back to their old personalities.

Our shearer arrived from Tennessee, by way of an alpaca farm north of us who hired him to shear their 60 plus alpacas.  He had time to swing by our place and spend the next day to shear ours.  They are handily secured by a system he invented of securing their back legs and front legs so they are then laying on their sides secured and can be nicely sheared eliminating any kicking and they are much calmer. One side is sheared and the secured alpaca is rotated over onto the other side for shearing.  Our shearer last year just sheared them as they stood up and that turned into a lot of stress for the animal and a lot more manpower on our part to keep the animal in position.   Having legs secured was the way to go.

While they were secured it was a perfect time to include toenail trims and teeth trimming if needed.  Our shearer had all the tools with him to do these extras and taught us as he did so.  It was a great learning experience and we appreciated the time he took to help us newbies.  We now have some valuable tips that will help us keep our animals in tip top shape.  I hope he will be in the area next year to shear for us.  

We now have bags and bags of raw  fleece we must decide what to do with.  I hope to travel south of Dallas to a mini-mill there that hopefully can work with our fleece and make it into various types of yarns that we can sell.  I will report on that as soon as we can arrange a visit.

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