We had a long awaited visit from a guy carrying this suitcase. Cool isn’t it? It belongs to our shearer and inside is his shearing kit.
When you only have 2 alpacas it’s hard to find someone to come and shear them as they prefer doing a large herd. Then when you mention that they will be shearing Suri alpacas (you can read more about the difference between the two here) and not the more common Huacaya they aren’t as keen to come.
As they were a bit young last year their fleece wasn’t long enough to shear but by October they were more than ready to be done. I just hope their fleece isn’t too long for me to spin.
Yes I am still trying to learn (haven’t devoted enough time to it yet) to spin their fleece and I have even more incentive now that I have two lovely big bags of silky fleece!
To shear an alpaca they need to be tied down as they do like to kick and my husband can tell you how much that hurts as he’s been kicked in the stomach before by one. It just happened when they got a bit freaked out, I think he was trying to give them some vaccinations. Hubby had to help hold their head down and I was in charge of taking photos. I tried to take a video too but ran out of battery after 11 mins and most of that 11 minutes was spent clearing out the shed and setting them up for shearing.
Many people don’t like the look of them once they are shorn but I love them. They look so cute and skinny. Makes their eyes look even bigger.
The noises they were making while shearing were fascinating.
Here is a great comparison of one shorn and one unshorn alpaca. One so fluffy and the other so bare and skinny.
The shearer was saying it is hard to make a Suri alpaca’s coat to look evenly shorn as the coat grows one way and then halfway down their body it grows in the other direction which you can see in the above picture.
The kids loved watching and “helping” our alpacas get shorn. Lucky my hubby built this shed for them as the shearer needed somewhere to hang his clippers from the roof and also the harness the alpacas to the floor. They did really well and didn’t get too stressed out I think, it only happens once a year so that is good they don’t have the stress of it too regularly.
Interestingly Kush’s coat (brown one) must be thicker or longer as his bag of fleece was heavier than Oreo’s. We found some hessian bags on ebay as the fleece has to be kept in something breathable.
I can’t wait to get into the fleece and spin / knit it into something fabulous. How amazing will that be to make something with the fleece of our own pets!?!