Shearing Alpacas 101–past midnight

Ain’t life fun? Sometimes maybe not, but if it works out in the end???

We sheared alpacas Saturday night, or was it Sunday morning. Two days later we are all bleary-eyed except Tom, and maybe the shearers. The alpacas and I are still dazed.

Friday I picked hay, straw and all manner of stuff out of 26 fleeces. Saturday I did fine tuning picking. We had our helpers in place and we waited for the shearers to arrive in the afternoon as planned. 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6p.m.–our volunteers started to leave. We sent our ranch helper home at 6:30 since she has a family and we fed our alpacas hay, which they promptly absorbed into their fleece by rolling and rolling and they spread it everywhere–so much for all of our work, and we don’t know yet what we will be able to salvage to show or sell.

People who know me from twitter are aware that I began dissolving sometime between 8 and 8:30. I called our alpaca shearing central and she tracked them down. It seems the farm/ranch before us had 46 alpacas instead of 23, so it took a little longer than planned. Our shearers arrived at approximately 9:10 p.m.! Only Tom and I were left–he was 9/10 asleep and I was a total basket case. The shearers wanted to get the shearing done. Somehow it was done, but I’m afraid to even look at the fleece and two days later I haven’t even entered it all into the record. Near the end Tom was reporting post-shearing weights that were higher than pre-shearing weights.

We did not get to give the post-shearing vitamins we had ready–no one to do that job was left. It was all we could do to identify who was being sheared and label the bags. So much for being prepared. People, please let the shearers know how many alpacas you have–the real number including any from neighboring ranches that you might have for them to do. There is no way to plan for something like this. We knew we would be later in the day, but we never planned for shearing past one a.m. The alpacas all screamed–it was past their bedtime and a couple were so groggy I was afraid they would never recover. …and we try so hard to keep stress to a minimum.

Still, they are shorn and it is done for a year. I’ll report on the fleece in my next blog.

The shearers were good and there were no nicks or cuts, but I suspect it will be next week before we know what the true effects of this nocturnal nightmare will be. Personally, I am trying to schedule time to be downright ill. Not a very good experience for our first shearing.

No pictures, sorry. No pre-shearing, full fleece photos for our website. Now excuse me, I’m going to faint. I’ll let you know if we have any fleece from our prize alpacas in a few days. The good news is that we are all still here.


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5 Responses to “Shearing Alpacas 101–past midnight”

  1. wonderwhygal Says:

    I wish I could make your first experience better. A magic wand? You got through it though and you learned. My first shearing wasn’t at my farm, it was at four different farms and like your experience, one farm had a shearer show up four hours late which meant we started at 8pm.

    Rather than making you wait, your shearer should have stopped the other farm at the scheduled number then fit the remainder of their herd in later in the season.

    I hope you get your rest and thank you for sharing. Hopefully your post will educate other farms.

    • zenasurialpacas Says:

      From your mouth to God’s ear. I am still destroyed today and keeping an eye on the girls for abortions. That is a terrible thing to do to anyone. Someone on twitter told me earlier in the evening that they had watched a shearer drive right by their house and keep going. To top it off, the shearer said he didn’t have his receipt book with him and now I have to wait and see if I even get a receipt. It is a reputable company, but I didn’t need to be at the end of their bad day. Thanks for the sympathy, I can really use it. I am exhausted.

  2. Kathryn | Alpacamundo Says:

    ugh. So sorry it was a bad day. Hopefully the fleeces are cut well.

    If you were closer, I would have sheared for you. 🙂

  3. zenasurialpacas Says:

    Sadly, today we had a cria abort this evening. Very sad tonight, a dark brown boy.

  4. zenasurialpacas Says:

    Sadly, today we had an alpaca abort this evening. Very sad tonight, a dark brown boy.

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