Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shearing and Spot

Spot is a big part of our farm, but did not get shorn. I didn't want to leave him out of the pictures, so here is Spot, with my son, Zack.

If you looked at our shearing pictures last year, you may have noticed we had them shorn a bit different. This year we had their legs and faces shorn down. Last year we thought leaving the leg hair might help limit flies biting them. And we loved how wooly their faces were and didn't want to lose that. But, after watching it this past year, we don't think it made a difference with the flies. Even shorn down, they still have quite a good cover of hair. And, that way of shearing isn't right for the show ring. To a large extent the way they are shorn is a matter of preference, but we had a judge last fall tell us not to have them shorn that way again, at least not our show animals. His point was that the judge cannot evaluate their conformation (especially on their legs) with so much fiber. As the shearer added, all that hair grows, so if you leave some just on some parts (legs and face), it will be that much more bulky later. We ended up having to hand cut most of our alpaca's faces throughout the year, so that they could see. This year we had it all cut down. I already like it better.


watalulu said...

Is Spot a Great Pyreneese (sp) or a Newfoundland? Or something else?
At the KY Sheep and Fiber Festival last weekend, there was a lot of educational things about sheep, llamas & alpacas.
We have a border collie, they herd and herd and herd. But I learned that with alpacas you want a protector dog, like one of the ones I mentioned above.

cara said...

Spot is a Great Pyreneese. He's actually a pure bred one too (but neutered so it really doesn't matter). We got him from an alpaca farm, he had already been working for a couple years when he came to our farm last spring. What we were told is that you want a guardian dog for alpacas, which is different than a guard dog (or a herding dog). There is a distinct difference between a guard dog and a guardian dog, but right this moment I forgot what the difference is (oops!).

We've debated between a Great Pyreneese, and a Maremma (of course my daughter, Emma, thinks the maremma must be the best). Both are typical alpaca farm dogs. When we found out Spot was available, we knew he was prefect. Not sure if our next one will be a GP or a maremma. Spot does bark all night, which doesn't wake me up, but if I'm awake, I sure hear him. That's his job, so I know it's necessary. But for some people that might be enough reason not to have one. We live too far back in the woods not to have some sort of protector. And Spot does a great job, plus he is so sweet, we love him.

We have 2 house dogs too. But they are kept separate from Spot. Spot would get along fine with them, but Dottie is old and does not like Spot for some reason.

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