June 8, 2010

Shearing Day for Maggie

Alpacas in Canada get sheared once a year - usually in the late spring.  At the same time they get their toenails clipped, their topknots trimmed and any necessary shots.  It's very exciting for alpaca farmers because we finally get to see the fleece off of the animal and we get to examine our alpacas more closely than at any other time.

The alpacas can find it a bit stressful but it would be much worse if they had to wear those heavy coats throughout the summer.  Karen Childs ("Alpaca Shearer Extraordinaire") travels to alpaca farms in Ontario during May and June and calms owners and alpacas with her efficient shearing system - supported by her mom, Cathy; her dad, John and her husband, Bryan.

Approximately 10 people in total are closely involved in the process and it takes a lot of detailed preparation and planning to ensure that the day goes smoothly.  Alpacas From Eighth and Mud held their shearing day on May 30th. 

HOWEVER,  John and Sharon also decided to hold an open house for the public that day as well!!  It was estimated that over 1,000 people came through to watch the shearing, enjoy the alpacas prancing around in their new do's, shop in the store for some alpaca yarn, try some of the maple fudge, observe the sorting process, or have their picture taken with Serena.  Can you imagine the planning that was involved in organizing this event?  Seriously, Sharon and John never cease to amaze me with their energy and creativity.

Ivana is a second year Ontario Veterinary College student who is working on the farm this summer.  Her job was to escort the alpacas to the shearing table.  Here she is with Maggie:

Maggie was so relaxed on the table that I fed her some pellets which she gobbled up as if nothing else was going on:

She almost looks sleepy as John escorts her back to the fields.

And this is how the other girls reacted when they saw her:  "What the hell just happened to you??"


  1. Hi Linda!
    Excellent blog posts for the shearing day!
    Looking at the pictures, I honestly can't imagine them with their fibre on; I guess in two weeks, the shorn-ness really grows on you. :)

  2. Hi Ivana:

    Sorry about spelling your name wrong - it's been corrected now.