It has suddenly got very hot, so it was time to shear the alpacas. The shiny electric shears arrived a few weeks ago, as I mentioned in an earlier post. Time to use them.
Seamus was the guinea pig. Here he is before treatment.
It took three of us. Chris wielded the shears, I held the head end and Benj lent muscle wherever it was needed. Seamus was very good, though. He’s a very timid alpaca but he took it all in his stride. Well, OK, he lost the will to live halfway through. Llamas and alpacas are like that. They’re a bit feisty to start with, but once they realise that’s not going to change things, they give up and wait to die.
As well as managing carp lakes, Chris is a pretty nifty alpaca shearer. There are a few nobbles and bobbles, but I’ll tidy up with a pair of scissors before the trekking season begins.
Brendan decided to kush (lie down) during his ordeal which made it easier to start with, but obviously Chris couldn’t do the legs so well. Again, a quick trim will tidy Brend up. He grumbled a lot and spat a couple of times, but only half-heartedly.
We got slightly over 3kg of wool off each of the two alpacas, which is a very good haul.
I made a few mistakes. I should have swept over the stable completely and spread something a bit heavier than a sheet down to collect the wool on. The sheet got creased up under our feet and so the wool went onto the floor and picked up some straw. I’ll be able to clean it up, but it means a bit more work. And we may have to be slightly more brutal with the boys next time round. The usual way to shear an alpaca is to tie them down like this.
It looks awful but doesn’t hurt the animal and makes it much quicker and easier to shear him.
I also didn’t have sacks ready for the wool. You can’t use plastic as this makes the wool ‘sweat’ and get felted. Paper or fabric are good. I quickly rustled up some sacks out of an old sheet, but only after we done the shearing. Live and learn!
The boys will be much more comfy for the summer now, and they’ll get over the humiliation soon!