Friday, June 19, 2009

Alpaca Shearing.

May also proved busy because it was the annual shearing time at Abravo Alpacas. There is quite a lot of preparation to do at shearing. One of the most important aspects is to keep the alpacas calm and reduce stress to the minimum.


We herded and penned all the alpacas up the evening before as the fleeces must be dry for shearing and subsequent storing. Availability of all necessary equipment and shearing shed design make the day a success. The area must be clean, swept and free from any contamination which could get into the fleece. The guys that we use are from New Zealand and have a lot of experience in alpaca shearing. Alpacas have to be restrained during shearing as they would struggle and probably end up with nicks and cuts.




















It takes approximately five minutes to do each alpaca and while they are restrained it provides an ideal opportunity to trim feet, give innoculations, microchip, check teeth and generally give each alpaca a clean bill of health.
















As the fleece is sheared the prime blanket/saddle and neck are bagged separately and weighed. The inferior cuts from the apron, breach, legs and belly are bagged and sorted separately to ensure that when the fleece is processed - spun into fibre only the best quality is used to ensure that wool purchased from Abravo Alpacas is soft and of excellent quality. IF you are interested in purchasing raw fleece, or Abravo Alpaca wool please visit our website for further details (http://www.abravoalpacas.com/).














After the alpacas are sheared they look very different. They have gone from huge fluffy teddy bears to elegant antelopes in five minutes. They spend a lot of time after shearing sniffing each other to re-acquaint themselves, especially cria and mother. However I am sure they all feel so much better after shearing especially on warm days. The fleece soon grows back, in a year we hope to have a length of about 6 inches and a harvest of approximately 3 kilos of fleece.




The fleece is then hand skirted, sorted and graded by Frances before sending off to a mill for processing. Colours and grades are all kept seperate which means there are piles of bags all over the barn as here at Abravo Alpacas we have Alpacas in all shades from whitest whites through to beautiful blacks.

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