Since the beginning of time, alpacas have been a valuable investment for farmers, investors and animal lovers. These animals are treasured for their soft fleece which is a very valuable raw material in the textile industry. Alpaca clothing is made as an option for high-end designer outfits, which are popular today. This silky natural fiber can either be light or heavy in weight, depending on how it’s spun. Although the material you get from shearing alpacas is similar to wool that is obtained from sheep, it is much warmer, smoother and has no lanolin, causing consumers to have fewer allergic reactions than other animal materials. Also, the fleece is naturally water-repellent. Because of these qualities, this material is highly valuable and dealing in it can be a lucrative investment for everyone.
”Shearing Alpacas”: Health Benefits for Your Animals
Shearing provides an easier way for you to assess your animals’ body condition. Most farmers don’t think about this, but when your alpacas have all of their fleece on, it is very hard to visibly inspect their body condition. Shearing allows for easier inspection with just a visible check and this enables you to detect any problem any one of your animals may have before it turns into something very severe.
2) Shearing Makes It Easier for the Animals to See Properly
Cutting shorter the topknot of alpacas makes it easier for the animals to see well. If left unchecked, this fur may grow over the eyes to the point where you are forced to cut it back with perhaps scissors on your own. A shearer is able to cut the top knot back and make it easier for your animals to see where they are going
3) Removal of the Heavy ‘Coat’ which Rests On the Backs of Alpacas.
Alpacas generally grow a massive fur coat. This coat, just like a jacket or sweater keeps them warm during cold season. Come hot season, we are able to take off our sweaters but alpacas can’t remove their heavy coats on their own and they don’t even shed the coat like other animals do. Shearing them removes the heavy coat and prepares them for the warmer spring and summer months.
4) Shearing Makes Alpacas Feel Much More Comfortable
Shearing alpacas takes off any fiber that may have been irritating to the animals. By having your flock sheared, you will remove the tufts of fleece that have been bugging them. Removing these mats will provide welcome relief to the alpaca. In other words, shearing alpacas just makes them more comfortable!
How to Obtain the Fleece: “Shearing Alpacas”
Alpaca Shearing is an annual event for those who keep these harmless mammals and several shearing techniques have been developed over time. Like sheep, alpacas need to be shorn to keep them healthy as you have seen. As mentioned before, the alpaca’s “wool” is a valuable commodity and good cutting is vital for being able to market your fleece as the highest quality. While the procedure may look simple, it is actually not.
There are people who specialize in ”shearing alpacas’’; and hiring them to do the job is usually quite helpful. A good shearer will shear your flock the way you want, do a great job, be dependable and quote a competitive price. You can expect them to do the following:
- Not ask for additional tips but instead let you decide whether or not to give this depending on how satisfactory their work is.
- Inform you early enough if they are going to be late. Sometimes a previous shearing job may take longer than expected. If so, a good professional should be polite enough to notify you in time so you don’t spend the better part of your day, worrying that they are not going to show up.
- Be extremely careful not to infect your healthy flock with diseases from other farms.
- Avoid serious cuts, especially on the delicate areas such as penis, ears, and so on.
- Handle your stock safely, especially pregnant females.
If a professional doesn’t live up to your expectations, make a note not to rehire them. However, most shearers are good professionals and work hard.
Tips for Finding a Shearer
- Finding someone who knows how to shear well can be quite daunting. This calls for planning beforehand so as to avoid last minute disappointments. Be sure to contact one early enough to get on their schedule.
- Bear in mind that some professionals only work in certain seasons whereas others shear all seasons. Some will travel from one place to another to offer their services whereas others will not agree to go beyond their hometown. Because of this, it is imperative that you contact as many professionals as possible to find the right one for your needs.
- If you keep a small number of animals,the cost of shearing will be high. It may be higher if you have uncontrollable animals, a mixture of breeds or inadequate facilities. When setting a budget,do not forget to consider these factors in order to avoid last minute disappointment.Once the job is done, ensure they are fully compensated for set-up times, travel costs as well as any inconvenience so that they will come back next time.
Control of your animals is essential while shearing because this provides efficiency and safety for them and the person who is shearing them. The more familiar they are with human interaction, the less likely they are to be scared and fight the process so be sure to train them to get used to human beings.
- Coordinate with other farmers near you to get a professional in your area.
- Be flexible. For instance,are you able to spare a day in your routine for shearing? Will you not be inconvenienced if the shearer shows up earlier than expected? Provide your shearer with several options.