Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sheer/Shear Pleasure

Today , Bill and I went to a friend's house to help shear her 29 Alpacas!
The barn is on the right side of this building-her house is on the two levels on the left-a very interesting but efficient arrangement!
Here is Bill getting a lesson on how to hold an alpaca so it can have its coat 'blown' of dust, sand and debris.
He was quite the alpaca whisperer by the end of the day!
 After the shearers 'trussed' the alpaca, his nails were clipped.
 Then they got their teeth ground down and the fighting molars were also snipped.  This smelled like burning hair and was the worst part of the day.  Even the occasional spitting was more tolerable than this smell!  There was a good breeze through the barn and the fans were on full so the smell didn't linger long!
 This is Platinum Cloud, I bought his fleece last year and am still enjoying his fiber for spinning.  He is a beauty!
 Bill even tried his hand at blowing them out and then settles them down while they wait their turn at the clipping station.
 The men were very efficient and thorough at their job-they would clip and we would collect the fiber.
 The back is called the prime or blanket fiber and is the best part of their coat. The belly and neck went into my bag for the second cut which is still soft but not the top quality.
  We collected several pounds of fiber from each area (first and second cuttings) and so collected 58 bags full today!
 The animals appreciated their lighter selves after they could escape our clutches!  Doesn't it look like they are talking together!?!
After an incredible shared barbecue and picnic to feed the work crew, we helped pick up and headed home.  On the ride home we saw this spectacular sky.  A perfect end to a wonderful day.


  1. What a neat opportunity!!! I can picture Dad in his glory -- he's such a Dr. Doolittle. And that is quite a load of fiber, wow! (and that's where you're in your glory -- in the midst of fiber!)

  2. That is a lot of fiber to shear. So what do they do with the second cuts and less desirable fiber?

  3. I love the last alpaca photo - I think they're exchanging experiences about the weird humans:) I didn't know that you had to grind down their teeth - sounds awful, like a visit to the dentist... but I am sure you had great fun indulging in the lovely fibres... a dusty, but fun day altogether?

  4. Absolutely fascinating. Thank you. I kinda knew shearing was tough, but I didn't know it was THAT tough.

  5. So where do they sell all their fiber? I am all but postive they were talking about Bill in that picture. Do they just let the leg hair/fur/fleece grow?


  7. I really enjoyed you taking us through the shearing process and what a nice reward at the end!

  8. Dd would have loved to have been there - she is mad for alpacas!


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