season for alpaca shearing is upon us once again. If you want to
ensure a happy bunch of alpacas, then a proactive mindset is
necessary. It will make the task a simpler one, and your
four-legged critters will love you for it. Whether you take on
the role of hairdresser yourself or hire a professional to do
the shearing, a few simple tips will help create the best
Your Alpacas For a Good Shearing
that proactive mindset in gear, settle the alpacas in a clean
pasture one month prior to shearing. If you're pressed for time,
two to three weeks should be adequate. It's also important to
keep animals away from areas that are contaminated with
excessive vegetation, such as weeds, and also to avoid a lot of
water and mud.
alpacas must be dry a few days before-and on-shearing day. Avoid
feeding the alpacas loose hay or pellets on the morning of
shearing-a little dieting is helpful here. If they are on
pasture, however, that's okay.
dirt and debris also need to be removed. If a blower is used to
do the job (and this is particularly important if it's done just
prior to shearing) blow gently. For starters, you don't want to
frighten the alpacas. More important, you don't want to disturb
the fleece, so treat the architecture, the alpaca's crimp and
lock structure, with care.
shearing day, make the job easier by penning all the alpacas
near the area where they will be sheared. Sort them by
color-starting with white or your lightest shade, and ending
with your darkest. Create a written ledger to catalog the
shearing order by color.
the actual shearing begins, remember to gather histogram
samples. Clip a two-inch square section from the side of the
alpaca (he won't even know it's missing) and place the fibers in a
small plastic sandwich bag. Use a small label to record the
Name of alpaca
· Registration number
· Date sample was taken
samples can be sent to Yocum-McColl in Colorado.
Get The Shears Out
you're ready to get the real work underway, the following tips
will create a more effective shearing process:
the floor or tarp if you're using one-clean. Use 110V for the
shears, and be sure to sweep up all debris after each shearing.
Remember, a clean environment fosters a positive
attitude. It's okay to work on a concrete floor, but keep in
mind that such a surface increases the risk of an alpaca losing
its footing and slipping. Pay close attention to ensure that
there are no accidents.
sure to have adequate shade and ventilation with good lighting
and clean surface areas to place fleece for skirting and
sorting. If you do not have a skirting table, one can be made
easily and inexpensively. Sweeping up excess fiber in between
shearings is essential.
all alpacas waiting to be shorn in their holding pen. Don't
forget to chat with them, after all, nobody likes being