Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Alpaca shearing time

Yesterday evening our alpacas were sheared for the first time in their lives. It was something Lloyd and I weren't totally looking foreward to, mostly because we had no idea what to expect. We needent have worried ~ it all went amazingly. The shearer arrived and he was lovely, so we were off to a good start. We'd got the alpacas in the wee yard already so it was just a case of setting up the table and getting to work. The shearer was like a well oiled machine and so gentle. He explained to Lloyd and I exactly what we needed to do and off we went. They were all quiet as mice and totally calm ( except Darjeeling who had a wee moan about it all)
I was astounded by how absolutely tiny they were when their fleece was all gone.
Darjeeling is the boss so when he was up on the table I thought the other 2 would be delighted, but in fact they were rather worried about him. They came right up to the table and were sniffing him all over. Tetley even went to all the clippings ( the bits you don't use were all over the ground) and pawed at them until he'd made a pile then curled up in them, like a wee bed. I think it was like his security blanket?
So they all got a huge haircut and their toenails clipped. The toe clipping has to be done regularly, the shearing just once a year around now, before summer kicks in and they start to get very hot.
We're going to save the fleece and when we've got enough are going to get it spun and made into a blanket. I'll have to find out how much fleece we'll need for this. It's gorgeous and so, so soft.

 Here's a before and after pic. Darjeeling is in the front and Earl Grey is hiding behind him.

Tetley and his wee nest ( Tetley is completely adorable)

Then this morning I went out to see them and make sure they weren't too cold. Also hoping they had forgiven us for the indignity of it all. And they had!

Tetley and Earl Grey having a cuddle

This is hysterical ~ spot the difference in the next to photos!

Darjeeling was doing his usual and hanging back... I think he looks like Bambi!

 and here's the fleeces. I wish pics had a feel - they are like fluffy clouds.

As far as the fleece is concerned the best bit is the big part from round the middle of the body. The next good bit is from round the neck. The rest isn't really usable, but the shearer told me it makes great mulch as it releases nitrogen slowly. So I'll dig some of it in round the trees. 
Anyway, the whole experience was so successful that we're seriously thinking of getting some more!

I've been asked to join this!

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  1. Oh my they look so cute. Tetley in the nest is the sweetest.
    A blanket from their fleece would be amazing. x

  2. Yes I think you have a bambi as well.

  3. Gay Moller, Lallybroch Alpacas4:48 pm

    Hi Laura,
    I laughed out loud when I read your post about shearing your alpacas. It was wonderful to experience your enthusiasm. After eleven years of alpaca farming and with 80 odd to shear here the weekend before last and another fifty odd at a friend's place this last weekend I was feeling a little jaded about shearing!
    However, like you I love the look of them once they are shorn, real Dr Seuss characters.
    Glad you are enjoying your boys,

  4. How funny they look.

  5. Laura's mum10:35 pm

    They look so funny!
    I can't believe how skinny they are -- their legs and neck look so fragile.

    I'm off to Edinburgh tomorrow. I'll be back on Thursday but I think you are
    going to the hairdresser on Friday. Are you doing something special for your anniversary?
    I can't believe it's 9 years. Have a lovely day whatever you do.
    lots of love

  6. They are so gorgeous, both before and after. But they look so fragile after shearing and very sweet.

    Sue xx

  7. Oh, how funny they look! So adorably baffled afterwards, there really isn't all that much too them without their fleece, is there?

  8. Oh aren't they just too cute all skinny and shaved!

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  10. Oh my gosh. This is just ridiculously cute! I'm jealous. We really can't wait to have alpacas (one day...) Tetley in that nest is just so adorable I can hardly stand it!

    Katie x


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Laura x