Slim came out today to help groom the alpaca. We sorted animals last time so it was alpaca shearing day. Annmarie tells me we should just arrange to have it done with someone else local we know who has a custom shear outfit come do their animals. I need to see about getting our fiber processed and then decide what we are going to do but for now, we do our own.
We had to move the shear table around, run power cords out to the barn and get all the tools ready before we caught any animals. We then rounded them all up and put them behind the barn. I caught the first one and we started in. First, you put the halter on, then you stand them up next to the shear table and then swing the table down and hold the alpaca on it so it is now laying on the table. Tie both respective legs together and stretch the animal out on the table. Tie its head to the corner eyelet. Now shave half the body. This year we only kept the saddle portion of the hair. Once you have all but the lower feet and head shaved you untie two feet and shave them. Next you use the hoof trimmer scissors to cut away the curved toenails. Try not to cut the foot or get the quick on the toenail. So far I have not made a single alpaca bleed this year. Now do the other feet, shave then cut toenails. Tie every body part back up and let the head loose and remove the halter, shave the head and now its time to rock and roll! One person holds the head, the other one takes the hard rubber dog chew toy and gets it into the alpaca mouth and holds it in place so I can cut out the fighting teeth. This all has to be done so that I don’t cut the tongue or lips with the finger saw. Once that is done then I have to take the Dremel tool and grind down the front teeth so they are even and match up with the top hard palate. It smells and its not fun.
Once the animal has had its full spa treatment we untie all legs and let the head go and I spin and rotate the animal off of the table. It works pretty slick and we don’t have to try and lift the table and slide them off off of it. We tried that and they are not very graceful.
The alpaca are the ultimate passive aggressive animal. We managed to get 6 of 8 sheared today and only one did not do the belly flop and refuse to stand up. As you can see above they just lay down and we had to lift them up, shove your knee under their belly and then flip the table to a horizontal position.
We had an audience for most of the day. A new barn swallow who we are pretty sure is not ready for the great outdoors.
We had to stop when the power went out. We later learned that the wind blowing knocked over a tree which in turn killed the power to a large area for a couple of hours.
We had lucky number 7 alpaca already on the table strung up and ready to go. We did his toes since he was there and then let him go. We will get the last two next week hopefully.
As soon as we let the first four out they ran over to lay down and scratch their backs on the grass and weeds. Slim and I emptied the pickup bed and removed the gravel so we can take the pickup and trailer to an auction in the morning.
Annmarie went out and cut herbs from the garden and wrapped them all up. I hung them up on thee breeze porch to dry. As soon as the upstairs bathroom is done I will clean up the breeze porch again.
Annmarie missed another rock chuck out in the ram pasture. I ran upstairs but when she started to fling lead it ran out of my field of view. I may have to put out some targets in the field and up on the hill so I can do some practice shots from the bedroom window.