Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Shearing an Alpaca Alone

Yesterday was a good day!

I was able to shear one of our alpacas alone, yet safely for her and me. It took me a bit to get her secured, but when I did all went well.

First, I tied two tubular fence panels to the windbreak, about eighteen inches apart. I tied them in two places, but today will add a third point of securing the panels.

I then bribed her in with some fresh grass, and tied the panels together behind her. She wasn't very pleased, but she was in no danger.

I had my shears ready nearby, so started to give her a haircut. She kept walking ahead and stepping back, which made it hard to clip her. I had missed one crucial step in my excitement of getting the job done - I didn't secure her head. Once I had the halter on her and tied her to the front of the panel, she was unable to move much.

The open design of the panels allowed me to shear while keeping her safe as well as myself. I only did her blanket as I was not very fast, but still ended up with two big bags of fiber. I couldn't believe how white and dense the fiber was once I got below the dirt, dust and hay.

As there is no electricity close to the alpaca pens, I used hand shears. They worked and personally I think it was a more relaxing experience for both her and I. Perhaps just me, as I wasn't the one tied up and unable to move much.

The positioning of the panels allowed me to work on both sides of her without having to turn her around. That most likely wouldn't have gone well. I am excited to try again today with another alpaca. If only they understood how much lighter and cooler they would be once they were done. It would be nice to have them lined up and waiting their turn.

Below is a picture of her in her shearing chute. Notice the difference between outside and inside of her coat?

I can't wait to spin up some of the fiber, but it will need a very good cleaning first. Time to get busy and shear another! Have a great day!!!

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