As many of you know, we have been working toward getting our own homestead in which to raise fiber animals, such as sheep and goats. We were not sure what we thought of alpacas, but recently were invited to an alpaca shearing. Kaitlin and I had the day off, so off we went to check it out.
We were immediately put to work - Kaitlin helped with the fiber collection and cleaning in between shearing, and I helped handle ropes. It was not only interesting to work with the animals, but to see how the animals are sheared, how best to shear for good fiber, and how they were handled and kept. Plus the shearers were very cool guys that have traveled all over the country (and world) shearing alpacas, so there were many stories to hear and much to learn from them.
They look pretty silly to me after they have been sheared...
They are laid down and with a pulley system, we made their legs taught so they couldn't hurt themselves while getting sheared.
Pete and Nev were great shearers! So much fun to work with!
In fact, the shearers, Kaitlin and I all got along so well, they invited us to help out with a few other days they had of shearing in the area. I had the days off, so I joined them the following Friday and Monday. I loved the opportunity to see how other places were set up and how they dealt with their animals. And I met another new friend who also came along for some shearing fun.
Baby alpaca getting a little ride!
Then on Monday, since it was Memorial Day, Ric and Kaitlin had the day off, so they joined me (after they slept in) at our final shearing. We did 38 alpacas and 1 llama. We had a lot of fun, got to enjoy great company and food, and got some fiber for Kaitlin to spin.
Ric helping hold one of the alpaca. We put a sock on the mouths of the ones that like to spit. And some of them make the craziest, horror movie kind of sounds!
We are definitely interested in getting a few alpaca now that we worked with them. In fact, we might even help train some of the local alpacas so they are more used to people. Which I must say would be a pretty sweet gig!
We can't wait for next year's shearing to roll around to see our new friends, get more fiber and have just an all around random yet good time! Stay tuned for more on what we make from the llama and alpaca fiber we got, too!