Saturday, June 2, 2012
Even though we shear every year for almost a decade now, I can feel my anxiety growing about 2 weeks before the first alpaca lays down to be shorn. Its a simple process, really, and my anxiety lies not in the shearer himself, but everything I need to do make it simple, smooth and efficient without anyone being hurt.
So, "How do you shear alpacas?"
Alpacas are shorn once a year, and their soft luxurious fleece is usually called "fiber" to distinguish it from sheep wool, which has a different structure and without lanolin.
Alpacas shear between 5 to 8 lbs of fleece annually, with some of our larger males offering up 10 lbs. The fiber is usually 3" to 5" which is long enough for processing.