Friday, May 7, 2010

Shorn 'Nuff

My dad gets the credit (or blame?) for this week's blog title. This Cinco de Mayo we celebrated by going to an alpaca shearing party. Art picked up our boys and drove them to the farm of their youth (Alpacas of Cripple Creek) for the shearing day extravaganza. Mic, Remmy, Pablo and 43 other beautiful alpacas lost their fiber to help commemorate the Mexican victory over the French in 1862.

Out of our gang, Remmy was chosen to go first. He was walked out to the shearing mat, flipped on his side and tied down. Glenn tried to comfort him during the process. As you can see, the whole thing was mesmerizing for Oliver.

Remmy's thick blanket was shaved off and collected in a bag. His leg and neck fiber were collected in a different bag. The bags were then weighed. Remmy only lost 4.4 pound of fiber, but it looks as though he has lost 50.

Pablo and Mic were not quite as easy. I don't think Mic was too happy about having his head shaved. Here is the last picture of Mic in all of his furry glory. He is getting his legs sheared.

Pablo's teeth were getting too long and need to be filed. If you love the smell of burning hair, you would have been excited to witness Pablo's teeth cutting. I sort of wish I had stepped outside (at least it was over very quickly).

My job was to run around and collect fiber and put it in the proper bags, then sweep quickly, while staying out of the way of the shearer. What I learned from my experience is that you never, ever lift up and tug the shearer's electrical cord in order to sweep better. As Glenn and my dad later reminded me, "Never get in the way of a man and his electrical cord."

Here are the "after" head shots:




Poor Remmy is looking at the still furry alpacas wistfully.


  1. Those are the cutest animals - they are so adorable. I really, really want one, no two! They look like they would make great pets, kind of like big dogs, do they? That was so interesting, Jess. Now what will happen with the fur? Who will wash and process and weave it? How long will it be now till their hair grows back?

  2. Informative post. I never thought about the process. And, as usual, the pictures are great. I cross posted over at the Harris hawk Blog. Hope you don't mind.

  3. It looks like poor Mic got the worst of it! What happens to the fiber after it's shorn- does it become yarn? Do you get it back or does it go to the farm who had the shearing party?

  4. Doris/Erin- They are kind of like big cats, but a bit more shy. I'm not sure how long it takes the fiber to grow back! I'm excited to find out. We have all six bags of the fiber. It will have to be processed, then spun into yarn. I'm not sure yet how we will get all of that done. I guess I need to learn how to make little hats or gloves or something!

    Doug-Thank you for the cross post!