Saturday, May 29, 2010

Alpaca Shearing - Suris

This morning, I helped a friend shear some of her suri alpacas.
We set up at her place basically the same as at our place the week before.

Here are a couple of the big boys before we sheared them...

and one of her young-ens after his first haircut.

Their fiber is just lovely and the luster was really beautiful, especially on the white ones.

I haven't sheared many suris before today, so it was interesting to see how the fiber behaved differently, especially since I just sheared huacayas last weekend.  The suri fiber was easier to fold out of the way of the clippers but was much more affected by gravity than the huacaya fiber.


WonderWhyGal said...

This week I sorted or assisted in shearing about 75 Suri. Most shearers will tell you that they prefer Huacaya because Suri is harder to shear. Since the fiber growns in different directions instead of straight out, like Huacaya, the shearer has to be more careful of short/second cuts.

One tiny bag of Suri weighs more than two huge Huacaya bags.

If you have a good shearer, ask the, about the process. It's amazing what different shearers have to say plus you'll learn a lot as you process your own Suri.

Me? I am in heaven with each Suri fleece I sort. Even the fleeces from the older girls (I sorted some of 15-17 yr olds) I can see a bit of their former beauty. I told one owner that their girl must have been a beauty in her prime because I could still see it.

Assist in as many shearings as you can for both Huacaya and Suri. You will learn so much more about the industry and the Alpaca than you ever will at a show.

Kathryn Ray said...

Right. Suri is generally more difficult to shear because it's generally more fine than huacaya.

I definately made more second cuts on my huacayas last weekend than I did on my friends suris yesterday. But that was due to the tension I placed on the clippers, not the lay of the fiber. I suspect, as I become a more experienced and skilled shearer, I will make less second cuts on the huacayas.

This is my 3rd season shearing. I will only shear 25-50 alpacas in a a season, where the crews who travel the country will shear 50 or more each day. Those guys are amazing to watch.

We haven't weighed our fleeces yet, but now that you mention it, the volume difference is significant.

I love following your fiber sorting journey. I can only imagine how much you're learning right now. It's going to make you a much better breeder in the future. It won't be long before everyone's talking about Snowmass and the Wonder Herd in the same sentance. ;-)