Despite the rain, our annual shearing has been done! Shearing day is one of the busiest on the farm and when the weather is wet it makes it much harder. All of the alpacas must be dry to be sheared so they had to be brought in and fans were set up to keep them cool. Sometime, even if they are inside, condensation can make them damp. This year we used shearers www.rlshearing.co.uk who were great and treated our alpacas as if they were their own. As alpacas have to be tied down to shear t is important it is done as quickly as possible. We noodle the fleeces, which means I kneel the opposite side to the shearer and gather the blanket (the best part of the fleece and is sometimes called the saddle), so that it remains in one piece. This is lowered onto a board which has a breathable roofing membrane paper on it. When the blanket is off, I move out of the way of the shearer and then roll the fleece in the paper. This keeps the fleece nice and fresh and makes it much easier to skirt. The alpacas, once sheared are much happier as they feel cooler and they become more playful again running around in the evenings. Also, it is much easier to see what is going on with the pregnant females. So, we now have lots of lovely fleece and the blankets will be sold to spinners and felters, used to make the yarn for our socks and the second cuts, the neck and legs will go to www.penroseproducts.com who make beautiful alpaca quilts and pillows. This means as much as possible of the fleece is used. The alpacas now look very cute and skinny, but not for long as their fleece grows approximately 1/2 inch per month.
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