Monday, June 13, 2011

Ain't got no Hair, part 3

Saturday morning, the sky was again full of smoky haze from the Wallow Fire burning in Arizona, several hundred miles away.

But it didn't stop our plans to shear the alpacas. i got the name of a shearer during the East Mountain Fiber Tour last weekend and we had a date today.

It was good to see how they catch the alpacas using two lead ropes stretched out. When my son and daughter caught them the last time, it took them an hour to corner them. It took these guys about a minute.
 Louise tends to cush at all times. She wouldn't come out of the trailer when they arrived at my place and now she went down when they approached her.

For the first time since I bought them, the alpacas are being haltered. I found out the extra large halters I purchased at the Alpaca Show in Denver last month are a little too big but they are still usable. I should have gotten the large ones for a better fit.
 Once haltered, a quick tug on the lead and the reluctant alpacas led readily across the yard, through the arroyo and into the barn. I sure wish horses were so easily managed.

This gentleman is giving Thelma some "joy juice," an herbal sedative. I cannot remember the name of it but it might be good to have on hand.
 I think Trevor and and Thelma look alike here. Big dark eyes and snarly teeth.
It was amazing to see how gentle they became, once caught.
This shearer likes to shear them standing up. It's faster and easier. However, Thelma didn't agree. She immediately tried to cush.

 It certainly took a team to shear. Sheila was in charge of filling the bags: A, B, and C. This was the blanket, the finest fiber, bag A.
 I couldn't resist getting photos of the curious equines. Annie is the 'fraidy cat and wouldn't come any closer. Yalla! and Scout, like little kids, couldn't get close enough.

It was a lot of back breaking work to shear the girls. To avoid getting the shearer kicked, Trevor had to hold the legs really tight. Fortunately, there was no spitting happening here.
Here's Trevor hanging on to those legs. 
The shearer noticed a lump on Thelma's belly, like a hernia. He suggested that I call the vet out. You can just about make it out in the following photo. I'm glad the shearer noticed it.
  Just like Thelma, Louise immediately cushed. It made it very awkward while clipping the toenails.
 I was pleasantly surprised to find both alpacas reasonably well behaved during their shearing ordeal. They never spit at us and didn't struggle much, They have obviously been handled before.

 It's a good thing her neck is so long with all the hands holding her. lol.
Nadia had a different opinion of the little critters than Yalla!, Scout and Annie. Instead of curiosity, she had animosity
 and flat out charged at poor Thelma.
 Thelma spit at her over and over but it didn't stop the attacks. Nadia would go to the corner and charge the rail. She looks so innocent standing back there, doesn't she? So does Thelma.
 Poor thing! She looks like a cross between a rabbit and a camel.
Here they are the next morning, skinny and DIRTY! I never realized how much alpacas liked to roll in the dirt before. After their fleeces are off, it's a good time to assess their weight. They look just right.
We decided to leave the halters with the catch leads (5 inch straps left dangling for easier catching) on them until we can gentle them down a little more.

Whew! I'm glad that's over for a year. It seemed much less stressful than the shearing I watched up in Denver at the Alpaca Show where the poor things were screeching and spitting away.

The shearer said the girls' coats were shorter than usual, like maybe they had been sheared in the late fall last year. Hopefully, their coats will improve next spring.

Next step, felt making.

Ain't got no Hair, part 2- song: Space Oddity, artist: David Bowie, album: Space Oddity


Shirley said...

That was interesting. I'm sure they will appreciate being sheared as the hottest part of the summer hits.
Have you decided what your first felting project will be?
Yalla! is looking gorgeous.

Mary said...

Boy! Sound like a lot of excitment there for a while. I hope Thelma's lump turns out to be a non issue. If I may ask..What does cush mean? I assume it has something to with laying down, but is there something more to it?

Jeni said...

Very interesting! Do you do the felting yourself?

Mikey said...

Lol, they sure are characters. I'm glad there was no spitting!
Very interesting to see.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Great pics! Thanks for sharing the shearing visit. They did a good job. What's left on them looks like velvet. When you get the vet out for Thelma, you should ask if they can find out if Louise is actually prego, too. Sure hope that lump isn't anything serious, though.
Funny about Nadia charging Thelma, but I can't say I'm surprised. You know how she gives the stink eye and pins her ears at my llamas. lol!

Happy Felting to you!


Dreaming said...

The lead rope trick is wonderfully creative! What an easy way to catch them and not stress them out any more than they were.
Thanks for all of the great pictures. I know nothing about llamas or alpacas, so it's fun to learn!

Fantastyk Voyager said...

To cush is to lay down with the back legs folded in opposite of the way our knees work.

Yes, I must remember that rope tricktoo. It could come in handy again someday.

Unfortunately, since Nadia is at the bottom of the pecking order in the horse herd, she tends to dominate over animals tho are meeker than she is.

Maery Rose said...

That looks like quite the ordeal. I can't wait to learn more about what you do with what you've shorn (I think that's the right word).

lytha said...

Nadia is GORGEOUS when she's angry!

Merri said...

they look like different creatures without their hair! can't wait to see what you create with it.
- The Equestrian Vagabond

achieve1dream said...

Wow that shot of Nadia charging Thelma is awesome! You either have amazing timing or just great luck lol. She's lost weight too, poor girl. I'm glad you'll be able to start doing the feeding again.

I'm glad the shearing wasn't as stressful as you were expecting. They are so cute in their nakedness lol.