Learning Alpaca

Friday, January 16, 2009

Well, once again I pick up keyboard and publish to an unwatching world :-).
No excuses - my life is busy and a blog is very low on the priority list. But finally I'll start writing about a central part of the alpaca life - shearing.

At Southern Alpacas we're having another shearing day in three days and preparations are well under way - so I thought I'd write down a few things to think about when approaching shearing.

First off - all alpacas have to be shorn - it's as simple as that. I've seen alpacas who have very slow fibre growth that only need to be shorn every two years, but still the shearing will come. It is necessary for the alpaca's comfort and health. So the first thing that has to be thought about is why you are shearing.

For some people it is simply to get the fibre off. Many small alpaca breeders have a pile of fibre bags in their garage that they will eventually throw out. At least one major breeder in New Zealand shears his alpacas to time with major shows and then burns the fibre.

If this is what you're doing then fibre collection and sorting is easy. Get it off the animal, into a bag or fadge and then burn, baby, burn...

But what if you don't want to waste the fibre? Then things start getting complicated :-)

Complicated? Oh no!!