With 80 degree weather the norm these days, our alpacas were very happy to get their heavy fleeces sheared last weekend. With 11 years experience, it all went like clockwork. Having a great crew helped and our thanks go out to the folks who helped us. The first day we got 31 alpacas and our 1 llama done in 8 hours. That left just 13 boys for the next day.
One of our crew sold tickets for the llama shearing. Last year, she decided she was not going to cooperate and showered the shearer with her mad, green goo. He was the one left holding the lead when it was finished, brave soul. But we had our sock ready this year, and didn’t halter her after shearing was finished, so she was free to get up and head back to her pasture with no fuss, no muss. She is a big, strong girl who does a good job guarding our herd.
The shearer again commented that there was little dirt in the fleece, which makes shearing a lot easier for his clippers. I spent time before they headed to the mat removing the vegetative matter from the outside of the fleece. This year, our biggest concern was the amount of cheatgrass seeds. This invasive weed is actually Downy Brome and in places is a good forage for wildlife. It comes up early and is seeded out by the end of May. The seeds love to embed themselves in socks and alpaca fleece. With the reseeding of our pasture this summer, this weed should not be as big a problem next year.
We now have wonderful fleece in many colors ready to be made into yarn, batting and rugs. This is why we raise alpacas!