Shearing alpacas

Shearing alpacas

Although very similar equipment is used for shearing both alpacas and sheep, the animals are handled in very different ways.  With a sheep, the shearer will usually sit the animal down between his (or occasionally her) legs.  With an alpaca, however, the size of the animal and particularly the length of the neck would make this very difficult.  Consequently, the usual approach is to lie the animal on its side, tethering or holding the feet so that it cannot move.  Either an assistant then holds the head or (more usually) a soft weight is placed on the alpaca’s neck to restrain it.  The majority of animals, once restrained in this fashion, will lie quietly while the shearer goes to work.  The photograph below shows the shearing process in Peru.

Alpaca shearing in Peru

The following video comes from an American TV station’s series on alpacas, where they add an extra step into the process – blowing the debris and dust out from the fleece before shearing.  Video courtesy of CBS Sacramento …

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