Sunday, April 4, 2010


Yesterday was co-op shearing day at Patrick's Pastures in Denton.  We took our 16 alpacas for shearing and stayed the day to help with the peripheral duties involved in shearing - handling and moving animals, laying them out for shearing, gathering and bagging fleece, cleaning up after each cutting, etc.  There were a total of 121 animals to be sheared, but unfortunately, not everyone that brought animals was able (or willing) to help out.   We got there at 7 AM and didn't leave until 9 PM.   It was a very tiring and sometimes frustrating day (too many animals and too few people), but overall a good experience - and very educational.

Getting the animal prepped involves putting on leg ties, laying it on the ground and then stretching it out with ropes attached to pullies.  The actual shearing process takes between 3-4 minutes.  I had a break long enough to take some pictures and video (link below).  The red-haired girl in the video, Emma, was my replacement for a while.  (I did this fleece gathering job  for almost 100 animals and my legs and back are pretty sore today.)  The "blanket" comes off the animal first and it's important that it be kept intact as much as possible.  This is the part of the fleece that spinners use to create yarn.  The blanket is kept apart from the rest of the fleece that comes off the legs and neck. 

Alpaca Shearing Video 4/3/10

I'm hoping to get out today and get some photos of our naked alpacas.  They look SO different than they did with all their fleece.

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