After many checklists and anxious nights, our alpaca shearing is once again done for the year. I believe this was one of the smoothest, easiest shearing sessions we've done, even with a record number of alpacas.
After the surprise early start two days early, we woke up on Monday morning at 5 AM and got ready to go. We cooked breakfast, chased down some alpacas and we were in the routine by 7 AM. Trailers would pull in, back up to the loading area, and shuffle their alpacas through the maze of panels to wait their turn. The older alpacas were happy to stand in line, ready to get their winter coats removed once again. When release, the give a little buck as the ran out the door into the sunshine. They literally dove into the tall grass, ready to feel the sensation of summer after months of carrying around thick fiber.
The weanlings, however, did not think the process was quite as glorious. Deserving to be scared, they were placed on the air mats and their legs tied, pinned to the ground. Most just looked at me as if I had betrayed them after being so sweet and good. The coat would come off and they would stumble out the door, trembling from the trauma of it all. Some would just stand their, bewildered that their world had just changed on every square inch of their skin. Others would run to seek comfort in their friends and family, only to be spit at, unrecognized as a newcomer.
We took off over a thousand pounds of alpaca fleece in those few days. The alpacas remain leery, unable to be bribed by pellets and not wanting to risk going back in the barn less they be tricked again to being tied to the ground.
I do feel bad because most do not understand why we put them through this. But, we all have tough times in our life, and we know they are not hurt or in pain. They are not impressed with their new hairstyles - at least not until the summer heat comes to stay for a while.