Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Shearing Day - 2010

We sheared our alpacas last weekend.

We had a great crew of volunteers.

Most of our alpacas, including Charlie, took a break after we were finished.

Bandit was feeling pretty good about his new do.  He called to the girls most of the afternoon.

This is Captain Jack's last moment of full fleece...

... and then not so sure if his legs would work the same after we were done.

The ladies look pretty good, and are most likely checking out Bandit's new do.  ;-)

We collected two bags for Matter of Trust.

Lessons Learned:

1.  Saturday, was a difficult day. Alpacas have a pretty fine fiber, which makes the yarn very lovely, but more difficult to shear. I emailed with my shearing mentor overnight about the issues I was having. I had not been starting with enough tension on the combs and cutters. As a result of his coaching, Sunday was a much better and more efficient day of shearing.

2.  While we have been practicing walking on halters with the alpacas, most of them were not interested in going into the hay barn where the shearing was set up. There were a couple of surface changes... grass to concrete to rubber mat.  It appeared very dark in the barn from outside.  So, over the next year, we will practice walking into the hay barn with each of the alpacas.

3.  Keyla, my teacher, strikes again. She was the only alpaca who got stressed out during the shearing process. A couple of the other alpacas were vocal, but Keyla screamed, spat, drooled, peed, pooped and prolapsed during the process. We only had her down for a few minutes.  I was able to shear off her blanket, but nothing else. So she nearly got a llama cut this year. I will call our vet to see if there's something we can do to help her be more relaxed. She is ok, but saved a special spit just for me. She wanted to make sure I knew she wasn't happy about being sheared.

My next project is to build a skirting table so I can begin to process our harvest.


Kelly said...

Wow, I've only ever seen sheep shearing and had no idea alpaca needed to be tied down like that! I guess they aren't very cooperative! It surely must feel good once it's done, though.

Kathryn Ray said...

It's safer for everyone if the alpacas are tied down.

I've seen a little sheep shearing and have to say, it's quite impressive how still they become when put on their backside.

~Leslie said...

How cool is that?

Alpaca is my favorite type of yarn!! My hubby spend one Spring shearing alpaca and since then we've dreamed of the day when we will own a herd and I'll learn to spin...

Until then, I'll be visiting here often and living vicariously! :D

Kathryn Ray said...

Leslie - you should learn to spin anyway. It's really fun and actually quite easy once you figure it out... kind of like learning to ride a bike. :-)

cara said...

I love your pictures! Great job capturing the day.