Thursday, April 29, 2010

Shearing Day Is Behind Us

Today is Thursday, we sheared on Monday.  I just now feel recovered! 

Llamas and Alpacas as a Metaphor for Life 
We were scheduled at 10am Monday morning.  Sunday night we received a call and were told the time would be changed to 2pm.  I contacted our helpers and hoped they would still be able to come.  Considering the forecast of 100% rain we thought this might actually work out better.  We would be able to get alpacas in and fans on in an effort to get them dry.
 The Camelid Companion: Handling and Training Your Alpacas & Llamas 
We didn't pen them in the night before because we thought we'd have time to deal with wet alpacas first thing in the morning.  Instead, at 7:30am we received another call saying the shearers would be there at 10am.  The owners of the farm scheduled at 7 were not home when the shearers arrived, so this put them ahead about 4 hours!

We shifted to high gear, contacted our helpers, brought the alpacas in, set up pens so they could spread out, and turned on the fans!!  

All's well that ends well.  Suris dry more quickly than huacayas, we learned that!  

 Trying to stay organized, keep helpers organized, and shear alpacas in an orderly fashion we started with our light colors, shearing suris first, then moved to browns, multis, and black.  

 Because we are working with a certified sorter apprentice this year and hoping to learn how to do this ourselves, the fiber from all alpacas was taken off and carefully laid on a sheet of plastic, then rolled up so it can later be unrolled on a skirting table

 Head, tail, and belly can then be more easily identified and coarser fiber skirted away, versus throwing it all in a bag and having finer fiber contaminated by coarser fiber. 

It was a great plan except that at the end of the day, all our neatly rolled blankets had to be unrolled and spread out on the barn floor to dry!  The best laid plans . . 


Several days later they were dry and have been rolled back up until next week when they will be unrolled again and sorted!


And now the alpacas all look a little silly.  Several days of cold weather followed shearing day.  I am sure we had some cold alpacas.

I would rather err on the side of having some cold weather than go into June with pregnant females still in full fleece.  With fiber that is warmer than wool, they get hot!

Teeth, toenails, topknots and tails are trimmed on shearing day.  It's kind of like a day at the spa, well not exactly . . .
Today the sun is shining.  It is warming back up and we have a herd of happy alpacas!

And lots of beautiful fiber!

We'll be sorting next week, then making decisions about what we will do with our crop this year.  All grades of fiber can be used for something!  Check out 'Paca Fiber on our website if you're interested in purchasing raw fleece before it goes to the mill.

The Natural Knitter: How to Choose, Use, and Knit Natural Fibers from Alpaca to Yak 


  1. What a wild ride to get all of them sheared! They are so cute no matter how much (or little) hair they have!

  2. We survived, but it was a wild start to the day!

  3. Julie,
    What a wonderful day and thanks so much for sharing it with us. Your herd looks Awesome,now I really want to visit..I just assumed that you guys sheared them, lol...I loved the pics and all the interesting facts..They are just "Too Cute" How lucky you are!!! Oh, and yes, you are now "Very Dangerous" as I saw the pic of your farm market $$$.....OMG...Take Care, Kay ♥