Shearing alpacas kept us busy on St. Patrick’s Day at Fairhope Alpacas with 92 alpacas to shear. Shearing day is about working hard and working together towards a common goal.
Alpacas must be shorn once a year to keep them healthy. Shearing prevents heat stress in warmer temperatures.
First the alpacas are led to the shearing area where they are tied with ropes. This may look mean, but it keeps them still while the shearer takes off the fleece. If they wiggle they may get cut by the shears so keeping them from moving is essential.
While we have them “captive” we trim their toenails…
…and their teeth. (if they need it)
Did you know that alpacas’ teeth continually grow? For years alpacas lived in the Andes mountains and the rocky terrain wore their teeth down as they grazed. In the U.S. our pastures are so soft that sometimes their teeth need to be trimmed. Fortunately we have a tool called the Toothamatic that makes it easy to do.
This is what the fleece looks like right as it comes off the alpaca:
The whole family helps on shearing day. It’s definitely a team effort.
Jim was amazing! And when our sire Magnum kicked a hole in his pants (crotch area naturally), he just laughed.
By the time we were finished, we had harvested over 400 lbs. of luxurious alpaca fleece!
And the alpacas are cool and happy!This year my pictures didn’t come out as well as I would have liked. To see more pictures of alpaca shearing check out: