Preview of the alpaca shearing chapter in our DVD,
PLEASE be Patient while alpaca shearing video loads
We had to give up alpaca shearing due to Tom's illness (Sarcoidosis). However, we have captured the secrets of Tom's shearing expertise in our alpaca care DVD along with detailed information on the use and adjustment of shearing equipment.
The Alpaca Shearing Table shown below is available from: Light Livestock Equipment
Call them Toll Free : (866) 999-AVA1(2821)
If you want advice on how to arrange for alpaca shearing check out this alpaca shearing article written for the Alpaca Heritage Educational Site.
Alpaca Shearing - Photos
Tom teaches Mike from Pennsylvania to shear alpacas
Chloe BEFORE shearing - all blown out and clean
Gryffindor BEFORE shearing
Gryffindor AFTER shearing
PenDragon (Campion x Primrose) BEFORE shearing
PenDragon AFTER shearing
Tom sheared alpacas for 7 years. Many of the fleeces shorn by him have won 1st places, and 2nd places at the Eastern Alpaca Jubilee, the Great Frederick Fair and the Howard County Fair. He attended the Maryland Sheep Breeders Sheep Shearing School in 1999 for extra shearing experience. He also did shearing demos at Eastern Alpaca Jubilee 2003. He has given many lectures on alpaca shearing.
Safe Use of the Alpaca Shearing Table
by Tom Perez
A minimum of two persons are needed to use the alpaca shearing table to maximize your control of the alpaca and the safety of your animals and handlers.
Handler #1 (H1) walks animal along side of table stopping in front of outside shoulder of alpaca. H1 holds lead close to chin and places same hand on vertical table. This controls and secures alpaca's head. Pregnant females are stopped slightly back, so that belly strap supports alpaca about the chest (not the abdomen).
Handler #2 (H2), usually the shearer, places body strap around the alpaca and secures it to shearing table hook on the back, top & middle of the tables edge (the upper portion of the body strap will need to be moved aside to find the hook). Be very cautious to NEVER place fingers inside of the ring when attempting to place ring on hook. Then place the rear leg restraints past the first joint(s) above the alpaca's hoof. Clip the restraints to the restraining bar closest to the floor and pull the strap to secure the legs one at a time, leaving no slack.
H1 now moves around to the side of shearing table near alpaca’s head and always keeps hand contact with the alpaca’s head (towel to cushion alpacas head on the table).
H2 tilts shearing table to the horizontal position. The front leg restraints can then be fastened and secured. Restraints should firmly stretch the alpaca but don't overdo!.
The belly strap can now be unhooked and lifted from the alpaca for shearing
When the first side of the alpaca is shorn, the animal is turned on its belly to present the other side for shearing. Prior to turning you need to slide the alpaca toward the top of the shearing table (away from shearer) in order to have room to roll the alpaca towards you. Then, make sure the alpaca ’s head is not tied to the table, and relax the leg restraints slightly by adding a few inches of slack. Reach over the alpaca's back and grab the animal by the blanket and pull gently to turn thealpaca over on its belly, while the handler holding and controlling the head brings the head low over the table to the other side of the table. Leg restraints should then be unclipped and moved to the other set of restraining bars. Readjust the straps to firmly stretch the animal (not overdone). The head may be tied to the adjacent corner of the table. Tied or not tied the head should never be left without someone’s firm hand resting on it!
After the alpaca is shorn, the belly strap that will support the chest and abdomen is re-attached and pulled to secure the alpaca to the table. The front leg restraints can then be removed.
H1 - comes around and places self adjacent to and in front of the alpaca, while maintaining control of the head. Stay in this position to support and firmly control the head, while table is turned and alpaca is untied. Keep head against table and wait for shearer to release alpaca.
H2 - releases the table lock and gently returns the shearing table to its vertical position. He then removes the rear leg restraints one at a time. Recommended technique – Kneel on one knee and pick up both rear legs of alpaca and rest them just above your other knee. Have a firm grip of the legs in case animal tries to pull legs from you. Slack the restraints and slip them off one at a time. When both are free gently bring them down to the floor. Then release the belly sling and untie alpacas head. Handler then can now move alpaca away from shearing table, and others can step back.
We always blow out our alpacas before shearing to remove debris from the fleece
Tom teaching Kate McKelvie to shear
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