We drove up to Keller, today to have our alpaca herd sheared at our new friends and mentors’ farm, DJ’s Classic Alpacas. What an efficient operation. The shearer and his crew, along with recruited helpers, gave our six camelid critters the full beauty treatment – fiber sheared, nails clipped, teeth filed, and vaccinated – in about an hour. It was amazing.
The most stressful part of the process was worrying about the weather. Alpacas can’t be sheared if their hair is wet. For days, I watched the weather channel and listened to meteorologist predictions. By Thursday morning, I thought we were in the clear but driving home from work, I noticed the dark clouds gathering to the north. Conferring with Jim Bob, we decided that Webb Acres wouldn’t be affected so I watered the garden and gave the alpacas their supper.
Finally, sitting down to watch the news, I looked at the weather app on my phone and sensed we were in trouble. The thunderstorm to the north and the other to the south were about to
merge and we were going to get drenched. Gathering the scattered herd in record time, we managed to get everyone moved in to the trailer just as the first big drops fell. By the time we had them in shelter the sky opened up with rain, hail, and wind. Phew.
Alpacas are sheared annually and their fiber is the reason I first fell in love with them. Alpaca hair is not scratchy, softer and more resistant than wool
and it doesn’t contain lanolin which I’m allergic to. There are so many uses for alpaca fiber too but I’ll talk about that in a future post.
I learned a lot from the folks at the farm too. We purchased our alpacas without papers or history and know they are not competition quality. Surprisingly, Cocoa and Zeus have a color and texture to their fiber that is high demand. Two of the helpers are spinners and were so impressed with their hair that they want to buy some. I was shocked and thrilled that mamma and son have high demand fiber. And hearing accolades from people in the know was exciting.
I didn’t realize that some people are willing to buy the hair without skirting (picking the dirt and burrs). Since I haven’t had time to work much with the fiber from last year, I may be able to reduce some inventory.