Pack-A-Alpaca!

Tuesday morning I headed down to The Weaver’s Shed  in Fairfax, for alpaca shearing day!
 

Waiting for his Haircut...

This, I believe, is Tonka (there was such a flurry of alpaca activity, I’m not 100% sure of names!). He was getting ready for shearing when I arrived.

Ron, the professional alpaca breeder and shearer, travels far and wide each Spring shearing nearly 1,000 alpaca. When I saw the huge shearing table I wasn’t surprised that more people don’t shear their own alpaca.

The table has an attached blue mat that can be raised and lowered to hold the alpaca in place. The table flips into a vertical position and the alpaca is led into the space between the table and the mat. The entire alpaca sandwich is then turned horizontal and the alpaca is strapped into place. While the animals probably do not find the process particularly pleasant, most of them took it in stride!

Tonka, Side #1

Ron starts by shearing the back, sides and neck on one side of the animal. This is where the highest quality fiber is found.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tonka

 
Next, the legs are  done. The fiber quality is lower on the legs and head. All of the fiber is separated into different plastic bags labeled with the alpaca’s name and body part.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Flipping Tonka on the Table

 
 
Ron expertly flips Tonka so his second side is available for shearing.

Dancer Legs!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A Little Moral Support

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alpacas are extremely social, herd animals. This guy’s very interested in what’s happening to his buddy! 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Alpaca Sandwich!

 
 
The blue mat is lowered so the hooves can be trimmed easily.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

All Done!

 
 
Tonka is unharnessed and the table is flipped up.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ta-da!

 
 
Phew! 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Cool as a Cucumber!

 
 
Already enjoying his cool Summer coat!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  

The Boys Enjoying Their New haircuts!

 
 
 While a couple of Sally’s herd weren’t quite as compliant as Tonka, they all came through quickly and easily and are now ready for summer! 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

My Souvenir

 
I got to take home a bag of scraps raked up from the barn floor. My broccoli is now mulched!
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