Monday, May 26, 2008

Shearing 2008

Sunday was shearing day at our farm. This was our first shearing experience, and since fiber is our industry it was an exciting day. We started out with bags for each alpaca, one for the "prime" and one for "seconds". Prime = the best fiber, the part that comes off their back, mid-section. The seconds is lesser quality and comes off their thighs, neck and some down the legs (though most of the leg fiber is 3rds, which is generally trashed). You could use 3rds for batting in cria coats (but we do not plan to birth in the cold months so likely will not need that). The little ones (a year and under) have prime all over because they have not been shorn before (so Maddie, Maxito and Sommerfield have mostly prime, no seconds).

Bags laying out:

We set up in the barn, clearing off the mats so that Paul could put up his shearing table (I forgot to get a picture of it - sorry!). Paul came from White Cloud Alpacas to shear for us.

We did the maidens first, Sommerfield, then Maddie, then Lightening, Sancha, then on to the pregnant girls, Kateri and Victoria. Victoria was so funny because she was so nosey when we were shearing the other ones, walking into the barn to see what we were doing. But when it was her turn, then she ran! She didn't want to do it herself at all. Last we did the boys, finishing up with Snowstorm. Snowstorm was the biggest baby, he is the only one who cried! He cried the entire first 1/2 of shearing. The big gelded male, the biggest baby.

We have decided the shorn ones look like cartoon characters, or drowned rats? They look quite funny, and very thin. I took before and after pictures to share. I will show the girls first, oldest the youngest, then the boys. I didn't take before and after of Lightening because he only had his 2 week cria tips and doesn't really look any different. They look dirty in the shorn pictures because they rolled on the ground after being shorn, when they still had some oil on them from the clippers. As the oil wears off the dirt will not stick as much.

We had a total of 28 pounds shorn. 18.2 pounds of it are prime fleece.


Sancha had 3 pounds of prime fleece and 3 pounds on 2nds. She was our record holder for the most fleece shorn. It was a surprise to use because she is our oldest (10 years old) and because her fleece looked thin to us. We were very wrong, she had a ton of fleece.

Sancha in full fleece:

Sancha shorn:


She had 2.4 pounds of prime, and 2.6 pounds of seconds. She was the only one we had to trim the top knot on, she had it covering her eyes so much we trimmed it back.

Victoria full fleece:

Victoria Shorn (I had to adjust the lightness of the picture so you can see features better):


Kateria had 2.0 pounds of prime and 2.2 pounds of seconds.

Kateri in Full Fleece:

Kateri shorn (lightness adjusted here too):


Sommer had 4.8 pounds of prime, our biggest prime holder, but we expected as much because we could see her long staple length and because her fiber was all prime (no seconds).

Sommerfield full fleece:

Sommerfield Shorn:


Maddie had 3.8 pounds of prime, great given she was born in September and did not have as long to grow as the others.

Maddie full fleece:

Maddie Shorn:


Snowstorm is the bigger boy, Maxito the smaller one. Snowstorm had 2.2 pounds of prime, 2.0 pounds of seconds. Maxito had 4.4 pounds of prime.

Full Fleece:



Jeremy D. Frens said...

At first I couldn't believe that the difference could be that significant before and after sheering, but now I'm worried you're not feeding them enough!

cara said...

I agree, they look emaciated, and comical.

we scored them (you feel their spine to see if they are under weight of overweight). Victoria is still overweight, which seems funny looking at her picture but she actually is too heavy. Sancha is underweight, but she just gave birth and can eat everything and still be thin. We will adjust her feed and give Sancha more. Snowstorm is also too heavy (a common thing with a gelded male). Everyone else was right on.

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